Address: 101000, 9/11 Myasnitskaya Ulitsa, Moscow.
Phone: +7 (495) 771 3244
Fax: +7 (495) 772 9590 *11308
Edited by: E. G. Popkova, J. V. Ragulina, A. V. Bogoviz.
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Working Paper Series . WP-19-16. Northwestern Institute for Policy Research, 2019
Larisa Shorina (L.Sh.), Editor, Faculty of Public Administration: Mr Lei, we are happy to meet you here, at our university. We hope you enjoy spending time in Moscow. Is it your first time in Russia?
Zheng Lei (Zh.L.).: Yes, it’s my first time. During these 6 days I have seen a lot. Some of your students helped me, showed me around. I visited the most important attractions: the Kremlin, Red Square, the Saviour Church, New Arbat street, so I’ve seen a lot. We also had different kinds of Russian food and I really enjoyed these experiences.
Elena Guseletova, Head of the International Relations Department, Faculty of Public Administration (E.G.): Were the students helpful to you?
Zh.L.: Very much. Igor, Nicolas, Olya were all participants of the summer school in Fudan and helped me a lot here, told different stories, took me to the ballet, museums. Also Evgeniy Styrin took me to the Arbat and New Arbat Street. Evgeniy has just joined your school 2 months ago, but I know him from the US where I went to for my study and where he was as a scholar.
E.G.:Where did you study with Evgeniy in the US?
Zh.L.: In SUNY Albany University.
E.G.: SUNY Albany is also a partner of the Higher School of Economics and Fudan Universuty.
Zh.L.: Yes, I got my PhD there. I spent 5 years there. And professor Barabashev also knows Jeff Straussman, the dean of the college, and I know him. So we share friends.
L.Sh.: At the moment the faculty of public administration has only one program with Fudan University: we organized a summer school for Russian students in Shanghai. How did you get involved in this program?
Zh.L.: I’ve just joined the summer school this year. I first heard about your school when in June you had a delegation coming to Fudan and after that I gave lectures for your students about E-government in China during the summer school. I had a meeting with Aleksey Barabashev and Andrey Klimenko. Then 2 weeks ago I met a group of researchers from the Institute of Public administration in Beijing at an international conference, so I met these people again. I have been involved only from this June, but HSE has been involved for at least three years.
L.Sh.: What kinds of options do you see for our future collaboration in your area of research?
Zh.L.: Regarding the e-government, I collaborate with researchers from the Institute for Public Administration: Evgeniy Styrin and Sergey Datiev. With Evgeniy, we know each other very well and it was great to meet him here so we continue our collaboration on e-government research. We can develop some papers together.
Another area is student exchange. In Fudan, we have a School of International Relations and Public Affairs. There we have a program called English-Instructed Master Program (EMA) on Chinese Politics and Diplomacy. It’s all taught by English-speaking professors. This is also an opportunity to collaborate. After graduation your students can come to China for a masters degree. They don’t have to speak Chinese in this class – during 2 years we will teach them Chinese. There is also an opportunity to come either for 2 years or only for one semester as an exchange student. So it can be longer and more intensive than the summer school, because 2 weeks are maybe too short. I am a director of that program, EIMP. And this program is offered in English specifically for international students. Each year we have about 15-20 students from everywhere in the world: US, Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia.
We also talked about a program from Chinese side. Each year we have a group of MPA students – current civil servants. They work in the government and come to Fudan to get a masters degree in public administration. Summer time we arrange a summer school for them to go to some places. For example, last year a group of students went to Washington DC to Georgetown University and spent 2 weeks there. We had a study tour and they took lectures for half-day and another half-day visited the government and cultural institutions. This summer we went to Oxford University in UK where we visited parliament, government, courts. So I think it would be great if we also had a Russian program and arrange this with your university. I think Russia and China have a lot in common, because we both are in the transition period with different approaches, but we are changing so we can learn something from each other. During this trip I have learned a lot about your country. And many Chinese people know a lot about Soviet Union and it will be interesting to know how your country transformed from Soviet Union system to the current Russian federation system and what difficulties and challenges you have. This experience will be very interesting for Chinese people and vice versa.
With Professor Klimenko we discussed the list of topics we can work on together, e.g. civil service system, transformation, e-government, performance evaluation, performance management. When we developed the issue, we could see we have so many common interests because these are also key topics in Chinese public administration. So we can collaborate on research, teaching, education, and training. When I go back, I will talk with our dean about it.
L.Sh.: Do you have any plans concerning when you want to start?
Zh.L.: It depends on both sides. And we also need to convince our students to come. I think it’s the same story here. Because Barabashev told me that in the first year he tried to encourage students to go to China, nobody was interested: it’s too far, expensive; students are more interested in going to Europe and United States. He said he put on some scholarship. And after that students came back and started sharing stories with other students. Now he said he doesn’t give the scholarship but they still want to go. So in China we also need to help people and I am going to do advertising when I go back. When we get enough students (at least 15) we can start working on it. On the professors side it would be much easier. We also talked about collaboration on the issue of PPP (Public Private Partnership). We have different department as you have here and each has different leaders and groups and I will talk with all of them when I go back.
Personally, I enjoyed this trip very much. I leanrned a lot about your country, its history and public situation, talking to the professors and students. People of my age who were born in 1970-80–ies know so many things about Soviet Union, it’s a part of our education, since we were kids we studied the revolution and when we were in high school we saw the Soviet Union collapse. During this trip I saw many things very familiar to me that I recognized from my textbooks.
About the lectures for Russian students
L.Sh..: You also gave some lectures for our students. Could you please share your impressions on your communication with them?
Zh.L.: This was a shorter version of what I gave during the summer school this August. I was quite surprised they all speak English very well because they asked very good questions. This time there were 46 students and also some professors came. I gave a lecture about e-government in China, they asked me questions and even after the lecture they came to me to ask more. I am very impressed by your students especially in their expertise in public administration and proficiency in English. It’s an honor for me to be invited for giving such a lecture. I am looking forward to see more students every year and I have very deep feelings to your school.
E.G.: We also would like to have more lectures for our summer school students in the future. We would invite you and maybe some other professors.
Zh.L.: The only difficulty is that in summer some of them are not in Shanghai. But I would like to invite my colleagues.
E.G.: That would be very helpful. Anybody who is available will be appreciated.
Zh.L.: Ok. The whole trip is really great. My friends are amazed and surprised I am in Moscow. It is not easy to get here. Right now I think at the level of people the connection between Russia and China is not very strong. Even US and China have more interaction. That’s why many people in China start with the US and very few people go to Russia. So when I share the story I will develop this connection. And Barabashev also told me that the reason he wanted to encourage students to go to China is to develop the relationship between the countries. Especially the young people level is very important for the future. So if we have some personal contacts, it will be good for both of us.
About the English-Instructed MA Program in Fudan
E.G.: Going back to English-Instructed Master Program (EMA) on Chinese Politics and Diplomacy, did you develop the program yourself or receive some help from American or British universities?
Zh.L.: First, I am not a founder of the program. It was founded in 2005. However, we developed this program without any collaboration with other universities. We noticed there were lots of international students from everywhere who came to China to study the country, its politics, public affairs, but they didn’t know Chinese. It takes lots of time to study the language, especially written. That’s why we decided to found a program with the opportunity to study China without the language and the program slogan is “Study China without knowing Chinese”. And after 2 years they speak quite good Chinese. But on class everything is in English: the material, writing, papers, discussions.
E.G.: Who delivers these classes? Professors from other countries?
Zh.L.: No, Chinese professors like me or my English-speaking colleagues those who also study in the US, Great Britain or who at least have some scholar experience there.
E.G.: How many courses does the program comprise of?
Zh.L.: Altogether they need to get 43 credits to graduate. Each course has 2 credits. So they need to finish 15-16 courses. Our school offers about 12 classes and a student can also take some elective courses from other schools. Now we have 5 schools in Fudan that have English programs, but they have to finish core courses in our school first.
E.G.: Do the students have to write a dissertation in the end?
Zh.L.: They have to write an analysis of their topic in English, if they find an advisor on the topic they are interested in. Most of them finish courses in 3 semesters and the last semester they have internship and have the time to write the analysis. We provide them with a list of supervisors depending on the topic. If both of them find interest in working on the topic, they do so.
E.G.: Do only international students engage in the program or Chinese as well?
Zh.L.: That’s a very good question! For 3 years we had only international students and last year we decided to select two best Chinese students. They don’t pay tuition but as compensation they need to work as teaching assistants for the program and help international students. The course itself is very interesting because it’s global community and the only thing they lack is Chinese students. We started this experiment last September and when I first asked these two Chinese students how they liked the program, they said that the only difference from their previous study is that the courses are in English. They had already known professors and all Chinese topics and issues. That was the first impression. Then after 3 month I asked them the same question. They said they loved it, because they can learn a lot from the international perspective in the class. That’s great, because when you learn something only from one angle, you have a narrow mind. That’s a great opportunity to live in China but expose yourself to the international thinking. This year we have more students to apply for the program.
E.G.: How many students do you enroll in the program?
Zh.L.: Around 15. Each year it’s growing. And we are developing the community. When a student goes back, he tells his friends and in schools so we start receiving more applications.
E.G.: International students have to pay for the program, don’t they?
Zh.L.: Yes. But we found different ways of financing. Some students get scholarships from their government, encouraging students to go abroad. They also can apply for a scholarship from Chinese government for international students to study China. Also we have a scholarship from Fudan University, it’s comparative. Then for students who don’t get any scholarship our department also has some. Last year we had only one applicant for department scholarship because everyone had already got money.
E.G.: Do you have exchange students for this program?
Zh.L.: Yes. First, it can be a degree program. They come for 2 years and get a master degree. Second, they can come for 1 semester and get some credits back. We had such programs with universities in Japan, in the US, Sweden. Usually we have 32-40% of exchange students in the class.
E.G.: We would like to offer the same opportunity. Currently we are in the process of delivering English instructed program here. It will be a joint program with London Metropolitan University. That would be the professors’ exchange. And we can choose the subject for credit and exchange student for a semester.
Zh.L.: Wonderful. When are you going to start the program?
E.G.: We plan to start in 2012. So next year we have time to prepare.
Zh.L.: That’s a major task. I will be asked when I am back where we can exchange our students. And English is a way we can exchange. And I think we can collaborate on different levels: professors, students, summer school, master program, professors’ research.
About APPAM Conference and other ideas for cooperation
E.G: Did Alexey tell you about our international conference APPAM in June 28-29? You are very welcome to come. The topic of the conference will be “improvement of delivery public services”.
Zh.L.: it’s a hot topic. Great! How many people are expected to come?
E.G.: We expect about 250-300 people. Most of the participants will be our international colleagues. Only 50 of them are Russian, and the others are from the USA, India, Europe and Pakistan. So this can be one more option for collaboration.
Zh.L.: Yes, sure. Many people in China are interested in coming to Russia but it is a long process to get a visa. But I expected to see many things. Red Square didn’t surprise me because I saw it in the picture, but Kremlin surprised a lot from inside. And I am interested to do the summer school in Moscow. Now civil servants that study MPA have many opportunities to go to the US or UK, especially US. If I put Russia on the list, that would be very interesting.
E.G.: We will be happy to organize such a program.
Zh.L.: May be we can also spend some time in Moscow and some in St Petersburg because you also have a branch there. That would be great to spend half a day for lectures and another half for talking to Russian officials and do sightseeing.
E.G.: That would be great if you can invite some Chinese officials also to give lectures here.
Zh.L.: Yes, I have many of them among my students, so we can find an interesting way of collaboration.
E.G.: Wonderful. So next year we can prepare much better program for our students which will be concentrated not only on Chinese language but also on Chinese politics, culture, and public administration.
Zh.L.: Yes, and if you need some help from me and the Fudan students, just let me know. Thank you very much for inviting me and providing all accommodation. The students were very prepared; they gave me a metro card, sent me to the hotel, thank you for help.
E.G.: You are very welcome. Thank you for coming here and this is a very good link for us that you got appointed with many people here and saw our institutions. I think it would be easier now for us to continue our collaboration.