In an effort to expand the campus’s global relationships, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks signed exchange agreements with Peking University, or PKU, and the Free University of Berlin, or FUB.
The new agreements establish exchange programs for students, faculty and researchers at the universities. The collaboration with PKU is designed for public health scholars and the program with FUB focuses on several fields including health, global studies and digital science.
Campus spokesperson, Michael Emerson Dirda, said international collaborations with foreign universities lay the foundations for stronger research, as scholars from all around the world work together and offer their particular areas of expertise on a topic.
“International collaboration is growing for all research universities, but Berkeley is particularly committed to strengthening these sorts of relationships, especially at the institutional level,” Dirda said in an email. “Additionally, these collaborations give Berkeley greater international influence, and often come with opportunities to generate revenue from new sources.”
The aim of the program with FUB is to encourage young researchers and promote teaching cooperation, technology transfers and startup initiatives. Additionally, with the establishment of the agreement, UC Berkeley will assist FUB with its role in the Excellence Initiative, a German government program that aims to improve the quality of research in its nation’s public universities.
The agreement with PKU’s College of Environmental Science and Engineering stipulates the creation of a joint bachelor’s and master’s degree program with UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. Both universities’ schools of public health will also administer a “double-degree” doctor of public health program.
Aishah Abdala, a senior majoring in public health, said the exchange program with PKU seems promising. She added that partnerships with foreign universities could bring in resources to the public health program, which has been considering rebudgeting many of its programs.
“Still, I hope this doesn’t take away from the importance of investing on on-campus resources,” Abdala said. “Foreign exchange programs aren’t always accessible to all students.”
Campus public health professor Fenyong Liu said PKU is among the largest and best universities in China.
According to Myla Edmond, UC Education Abroad Program spokesperson, said the university intentionally seeks out partnerships with top-ranked universities like PKU and FUB that provide “an education comparable to the standards held at UC.” The two exchange programs are open to students attending all UC schools, not just UC Berkeley.
“Cross-cultural exchanges are increasingly valuable to both partner institutions. Welcoming students from other countries to interact with and become a part of UC adds a necessary component of internationality,” Edmond said in an email. “It enables UC students the opportunity to view and learn alongside students with perspectives different from their own.”