Staff of the Duke Center for International Development (DCID) traveled to China from June 15-25 to meet with participants in the upcoming State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) executive education program. The four-month program begins Thursday, Aug. 1.

Executive Director Jonathan Abels and Program Coordinator Derek DeLong introduced the 30 government officials to topics that will be covered in the program and answered their questions about living and studying in North Carolina. 

During the trip, staff also had the chance to reunite with many SAFEA alumni, including 2005 alumnus Xia Bing.

“The program gave us not only the class theory but also useful tools for public policy making. For example, I always use the data analysis we learned for my daily work now,” Bing said. “In addition, DCID has a group of highly experienced faculty members that gave us full directions and care. They are not just our teachers, but our lifelong friends also.” 

This summer marks the 10th year DCID has offered the SAFEA program. Designed specifically for mid- and senior-level officials from various ministries within China’s central government, the program covers topics such as public finance, policy analysis, management, conflict resolution and environmental policy. Since 2003, it has trained approximately 330 government officials from ministries such as finance, foreign affairs and commerce.

Over the years, the program has evolved to incorporate various topics that are of growing interest to participants, such as the global financial crisis and emergency management. 

In addition to classroom training, SAFEA participants meet with and learn from civic and business leaders through site visits to various institutions and organizations throughout the Research Triangle, including the School of Government at the University of North Carolina, the Supreme Court of North Carolina, the North Carolina General Assembly, the SAS Institute and Cisco.

The group also travels to Washington, D.C., and New York City where they attend meetings at international organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations and visit popular U.S. monuments and landmarks.

“We were very pleased to see students from previous years and to learn what they are doing now, to hear how their experience at Duke and the Sanford School influenced their work and broadened their perspective, and to feel the warmth of their reunion with their classmates and with us,” Abels said. “We are proud that Duke is having an immediate and long-term impact on their lives and, I believe, on the services they are providing their citizens.”

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