Thirty mid- and senior-level officials from the Chinese government celebrated their graduation from the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) Public Policy Program on Friday, Dec. 4. The annual four-month program, designed by the Duke Center for International Development (DCID) specifically for China, covers topics such as policy analysis, management, public finance, conflict resolution and environmental policy.

Since the program’s inception in 2003, nearly 400 Chinese government officials from ministries such as finance, foreign affairs and commerce have studied at Duke through the program.

Dean Kelly Brownell of the Sanford School of Public Policy congratulated the graduates and expressed his wishes for a continued relationship between Sanford and China. “I hope the bonds and friendships that have been established during this program last a long time,” he said.

In addition to their courses at Duke, SAFEA participants visited various government agencies, businesses and organizations, including the North Carolina General Assembly, the state Supreme Court, the Salvation Army and the SAS Institute. They also traveled to Washington, D.C., in October to attend meetings at international organizations such as the World Bank.

During the ceremony, Denis Simon, executive vice chancellor at Duke Kunshan University and recipient of the China National Friendship Award in 2006, said that the U.S. and China “hold the key” to solving some of the world’s most pressing issues.

“Duke believes very strongly that if it wants to be a global university, it must have a close working relationship with China,” he said. “There are opportunities for close Sino-U.S. collaboration that go far beyond climate change to health policy, energy policy and many others. There is no problem we cannot solve together.”

Liu Aiping, SAFEA group leader and inspector in the General Office of the Central Committee, said that the program helped her gain a deeper understanding of American culture and civilization.

“Even though China and America are very different in history, tradition, and political systems, I think we have common ground,” she said. “By working together, we can create a brighter future for both of us.”

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