President Husbands in awe of China progress

Dr. Mark Husbands, who commenced his role as Trinity Western University’s fifth president on July 1, 2019, has chosen China as his first destination of international travel in his role as TWU President. He is interested in understanding China, its people, its history, its remarkable development, and the diverse TWU relationships in China.

The delegation includes Dr. Philip Laird, Vice Provost, Dr. Sonya Grypma, Associate Provost, Dr. David Squires, Dean of the School of Arts Media and Culture, Mr. Geoffrey Feng, Executive Director of TWU GLOBAL, and Mrs. Becky Husbands. Welcomed by a host of successful TWU alumni now working in China, Dr. Husbands came face-to-face with the impact TWU is making all around the world.

Dr. David Squires captured the group’s first impression of the City of Shanghai. “Landing in Shanghai for the first time is like stepping into a future where the world comes together in one place,” he said. With a population of 25 million people, modern infrastructure, and leading-edge technology, Shanghai is a modern marvel. The delegation was moved to learn about Shanghai’s historic hospitality during the Second World War, when Shanghai welcomed Jewish refugees and undoubtedly saved tens of thousands of lives.Downtown Shanghai, “The Bund” as seen from a ship at night. A dinner cruise along the Bund was a cap to the first day in China filled with awe.

On Day 2, the tour included stops at the ancient Yu Garden and the Shanghai Tower, the world’s third-tallest building with the world’s fastest elevator—which ascends the 128-storey, 632 m tower at 13 m/s. 

Travelling from Shanghai to Nanjing on October 21, 2019, included one of China’s hundreds of fast trains that move people at 300 km/h. In Nanjing, Dr. Husbands met with Dr. Hongbing Shen, president of Nanjing Medical University, one of the top three medical universities in China with 23 affiliated hospitals and three branch campuses in Jiansu Province. “TWU’s strong relationship with Nanjing Medical University includes hosting three delegations of doctors, surgeons, and health-care administrators for leadership development training at TWU over the past four summers and establishing a collaborative 3+1+1 agreement between TWU and NMU last year,” stated Dr. Laird. NMU Vice President Lu provided the TWU delegation with a tour of the Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, which he was instrumental in designing.

With her experience as a historian of Canadian nursing in China, which includes publishing three books, Dr. Gypma provided an important academic connection between NMU and TWU. Adjacent to Nanjing Medical University, this hospital is evidence of a modernizing health-care system in China and state-of-the-art equipment and service to the people of Nanjing. In his speech to commemorate the presidential visit, Dr. Husbands spoke of the positive difference our institutions are making by collaborating for the best of humanity. He said, “We provide a viable pathway of opportunity for growth, discovery, and transformation for students, their families, cities, and nations. And hope is the virtue that we all need. In short, we provide people with the foundation for hope.”

Mr. Geoffrey Feng, who is responsible for leading the international requirement efforts of TWU, echoed Dr. Husbands’ words, saying, “Students choose TWU because it does more than just educate students. TWU inspires students, provides a safe learning environment, and gives hope in a bright future whether our students stay in Canada or go back to China after graduation.”

Struck by the remarkable development in China over the past 30 years and the unmatched hospitality of the Chinese people, the delegation moves to Beijing and Tianjin to better understand our Chinese students and their stories and to strengthen the TWU relationships throughout China.