New Center Connects University with Asia

The University is celebrating the arrival of a new center intended to build bonds between UT Dallas and the cultures and communities of Asia.

The Asia Center aims to integrate science, technology, engineering, culture and commerce to connect with the peoples of Asia. Through educational programs, research projects and community outreach, the center seeks to create partnerships across many cultures.

Zhang Xiuqin, director-general of the Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges in China, attended the recent opening of the UT Dallas Asia Center.

Goals include creating a distinguished lecture series and establishing endowed chairs, professorships, scholarships and fellowships to attract researchers focused on international issues and increase students’ competence in global subjects.

“It is impossible to become a great university without being a university of the world, and the Asia Center operates on a global scale,” said UT Dallas President David E. Daniel as he welcomed guests at the center’s recent opening ceremony. Attendees included representatives of the Chinese Ministry of Education Delegation – a group that helps formulate guidelines and policies for the foreign affairs of China’s educational sector.

Steve Lyle, director of diversity and workforce development at Texas Instruments, expressed the company's enthusiastic support of the new center.

“In today’s world of fast globalization, there are challenges that nations cannot solve alone. The Center serves as a place for people to talk, meet and collaborate,” said Zhang Xiuqin, who arrived with the delegation and serves as director-general of the Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges in China.

Other guests included Parvathaneni Harish, the consul general of India.

“UT Dallas has recognized the importance of establishing a tide that can lift all boats,“ said Harish, noting the center’s ability to bring together a broad range of people.

The center began with support from local business and community leaders including Steve Lyle, director of diversity and workforce development for Texas Instruments.

Parvathaneni Harish, the consul general of India, was among the guests at the Asia Center opening ceremony.

“This is truly an exciting event for Texas Instruments to share in. The center will be the only one of its kind in this country, serving as a natural conduit for economic and cultural exchange,” Lyle said.

Michael D. Skelton, vice president for international business development with the city of Richardson, said that the center benefits the local community as Asian companies now have another incentive to set up offices nearby and collaborate with the University.

Monique Wedderburn is director of the UT Dallas Asia Center.

“Nearly three of every five human beings live in Asia, representing a range of peoples, nations, histories and religions. Three-hundred-thousand people of Asian descent live in the Dallas–Fort Worth area. Understanding, cultivating, partnering with and communicating with Asia matters,” said Monique Wedderburn, director of the UT Dallas Asia Center.

Before coming to UT Dallas, Wedderburn was senior program officer for the East-West Center’s Asia Pacific Leadership Program, based in Honolulu, Hawaii. She has worked as a business analyst with the University of Hawaii Pacific Business Center and with the U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Colorado State University and a master’s from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Xuefei Yang will perform at an upcoming celebration for the new Asia Center.

Celebratory Concert Planned

On Sept. 28, internationally acclaimed guitarist, Xuefei Yang comes to the University to celebrate the founding of the Asia Center.

Yang was the first Chinese student awarded a full scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London.  She has given concerts throughout Asia, Europe and North America. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in the Alexander Clark Center.

The UT Dallas School of Arts and Humanities will cosponsor the event with the Confucius Institute and the Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art.

The Asia Center is housed in the School of Arts and Humanities, however is a campus-wide initiative, encompassing engineering, science, technology, and culture and commerce.

“The Center embodies the University’s commitment to build bridges of understanding and respect across cultures. ” said Dean Kratz, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities.


Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].