West Virginia University forged another international connection Thursday (Aug. 19), signing an agreement with the China University for Mining and Technology-Beijing that commits the institutions to work together on issues arising from fossil fuel use, especially coal.

Recent events in WVU's growing international activity

In early August, representatives from Jazan University in Jazan, Saudi Arabia visited Morgantown in the first visit to be funded through a recent $68,000 grant from The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation to WVU and the non-profit GlobalPittsburgh.

In late July, seven students from the Royal University for Women in Bahrain were in Morgantown to attend the Honors Leadership Academy. The Royal University, founded in 2005, began a partnership with WVU in 2008 following recruiting trips to Bahrain by WVU officials.

In June, WVU signed a memorandum of understanding with VIT University in India, which will enable easier exchanges of faculty and students between the two schools.

Researchers in South Korea are teaming up with colleagues at WVU to focus on the challenges of reclaiming coal mines.

WVU signed a research agreement with one of Europe's most respected research universities that is expected to greatly expand opportunities for collaborations between faculty, students and scientists in the U.S. and Italy.

“I think the ultimate goal is for China and the United States to really address energy issues particularly related to fossil energy use and commercialization and the use of fossil fuels in a clean, efficient and effective manner,” said Dr. Curt Peterson, WVU’s vice president for research and economic development and president of the WVU Research Corp.

Dr. Renshu Yang, who has the equivalent role at CUMT to a university president, told the group through an English translator that making efficient energy furthers human development.

“It is a great honor to visit this beautiful and well-known university,” Yang said. “Resources and energy are the basis for human development, so the key to forward this development is to explore scientifically more resources and energy.”

The agreement, a part of WVU’s Advanced Energy Initiative, is the first step in cooperation between the two universities with more specific initiatives to follow. AEI coordinates University-wide energy research in science, technology, engineering and public policy.

Peterson emphasized the importance of developing efficient and clean energy from fossil resources.

He cited the increasing demand for energy to power technology in both countries and across the world.

“In West Virginia, coal is much more than a necessary part of the energy mix for an energy-hungry world,” Peterson told the audience of WVU leaders and 18 CUMT professors and representatives at the signing at the National Research Center for Coal and Energy . “In West Virginia, it is an integral part of our economy and our way of life.”

“At West Virginia University, we have embraced the challenge of finding cleaner ways to use coal, and we welcome your expertise, your cooperation and your input as we work together on furthering that potential,” Peterson told the group.

The five-year agreement, that has an option to renew, will allow joint research and the sharing of teaching resources and professional development resources between the two universities.

Click below to hear Dr. Curt Peterson, WVU's VP for research and economic development, discusses the importance of the relationship between WVU and CUMT followed by a translation of his words to Chinese.

[ Download as MP3 File ]

Peterson said the two universities intend to work together on such important concerns as carbon sequestration and storage and mining safety.

From a research standpoint, WVU’s most effective international relationships are the ties to China it has already formed and the new tie to CUMT, Peterson said. He hopes for similar research partnerships to be formed with other universities around the globe.

Ultimately, the agreement is a way for mining students to increase their cultural education with a global power.

“I would encourage our students not only to engage in the technical side of visiting China and studying in China but also the cultural side,” said Peterson, who has visited China. “Culturally it’s really one of the most interesting places in the world.

“I would hope that our young people would seize the opportunity to learn the language and also to learn about the culture. This will only benefit us all.”

This agreement is just one of the many ways that WVU has connected with China:

  • WVU’s U.S.-China Energy Center coordinates energy research between WVU and federal research agencies that can benefit China.
  • WVU’s Center for Chinese Business has educated Chinese government and business leaders from three major Chinese cities: Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin. In this program, Chinese leaders study at WVU for six months and explore business concepts and American culture and English.
  • WVU sends students to a four-week Chinese language and cultural immersion program at Soochow University.
  • The WVU Ceramics Area maintains 16,000 square feet of collaborative studio space in China as part of a summer study program that is open to American and Chinese students.

CUMT_ with one campus in Xuzhou and another in Beijing _ is the oldest center of higher learning that focuses on mining in China with more than 100 years of history. Its Beijing campus has more than 11,000 students and has partnerships with 33 universities and research institutions, including those in the U.S., Russia and Australia.



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