China transportation officials learn from NMSU cohorts
A delegation from China’s Ministry of Transportation was in Las Cruces last week as part of a three-week tour of the United States, organized by members of New Mexico State University’s department of engineering technology and surveying engineering. The delegates were here to attend transportation workshops, primarily focused on bridge transport, in San Francisco, Bozeman, Mont., Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., in addition to Las Cruces.
The group visited NMSU to gain expertise from the university’s world-renowned Bridge Evaluation Research Center, while also pursuing a potential academic exchange program. NMSU’s Ruinian Jiang, an assistant professor in engineering technology and native of China and primary NMSU-China liaison, and Sonya Cooper, engineering technology professor, visited China last year to gain insights from the ministry and explore initiating an NMSU Ph.D. program in the republic.
At a reception Sept. 15 at the Klipsch Museum on the NMSU campus, university President Barbara Couture welcomed the delegates, led by Ping Cheng, China’s minister of transport.
“Building international partnerships and growing our international footprint are important parts of our mission,” Couture told the audience, while Jiang translated. “A partnership with the Department of Ministry of Transportation of China will allow NMSU to share the research and expertise of our talented faculty and students. We will be able to continue our mission of global citizenry and contribute to the tremendous growth in China.”
Cheng also spoke, as did College of Engineering Dean Ricardo Jacquez.
“We hope to open a broader exchange between our two countries,” Cheng said, while also mentioning the delegation’s interest in learning in particular from the university’s bridge inspection program. “There is lots of construction happening in China right now, and we hope to learn more from you.”
The delegation arrived in San Francisco Sept. 5, and will return to China via Washington, D.C., Sept. 25.
“The delegation exchange began with Dr. Jiang’s initiative, but the momentum is rolling because China is such an important worldwide partner,” Cooper explained. “There’s a lot of innovative partnering that can go on if we work together, because there’s just a massive need for infrastructure – new and repair – in both countries.”
In addition to the workshops and collaborative efforts, the delegation took time out for fun as well. Cooper and Jiang took the group on sightseeing trips to the White Sands and Gila Cliff Dwellings national monuments and gave them a taste of local cuisine.
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