To foster an exchange of culture, education and sport, the University of Minnesota will host eight Chinese Olympic and world champion athletes and one Olympic-level coach as part of the School of Kinesiology’s China Champions Program (CCP), arriving today, Wednesday, November 4, in the afternoon. This is the second year of the unique program. Biographies for each Champion are available here.
Led by the School of Kinesiology, in collaboration with Beijing Sport University and supported by the Chinese government’s Scholarship Council, CCP is a unique, global collaboration that provides mutual benefits for Chinese athletes and University faculty, staff and students.
“This partnership offers the chance for visiting athletes and many at the University to engage, teach and enhance learning from each other,” said Li Li Ji, Ph.D., director of the School of Kinesiology and founder of the China Champions Program . “Our goal is to ensure all involved gain insight and appreciation for the cultures in each country and harness that knowledge to benefit our world.”
During the next year, participants will attend specially designed courses in the School of Kinesiology, including academic seminars, workshops and English as a Learned Language classes. Beyond the classroom, athletes will visit Minnesota cultural sites and become acclimated with the Twin Cities area, as well as take tours of University and local professional sports team’s stadiums, arenas and training facilities.
University partners with the School of Kinesiology include the University of Minnesota China Center, the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance (GPS Alliance), and the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD).
“Globalization and internationalization are an important part of CEHD’s mission of applying principles and practices of multiculturalism to advance teaching and learning,” said CEHD Dean Jean Quam. “As we welcome another cohort of the CCP, we extend and promote this unique two-way discovery between our students, faculty, staff, and community and elite Chinese athletes.”
Local business and government leaders will also meet with the athletes to give them a behind-the-scenes look into international corporations, government and the American culture. Each of the Chinese participants are continuing their education as part of a master’s level graduate program with Beijing Sport University, the top sport university in China.
“Entering year two of this program, we are excited to continue to use sport to bridge cultures,” said Rayla Allison, associate director of the School of Kinesiology and executive director of the China Champions Program. “Last year’s program was a great success by all measures due to engagement and support of the College of Education and Human Development and Global Programs and Strategy Alliance, plus the numerous volunteers and community members who so graciously championed the program.”