Rice University President Invited To Opening Ceremony For Olympics
Rice University President David Leebron is one of 11 university presidents from around the world invited by the Chinese Ministry of Education to the opening ceremony for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Rice, Yale and Johns Hopkins are the only U.S. universities among those invited.
Leebron and his wife, University Representative Y. Ping , will attend the festivities tomorrow, Aug. 8, that kick off the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, where 10,500 athletes are expected to compete in 302 events in 28 sports.
“Ping and I were honored to be invited by the Chinese Minister of Education to attend the opening ceremonies as his guests,” Leebron said. “In addition to this gesture of friendship, we are pleased to be there with other Rice community members who are attending the games as athletes and coaches. Rice will be well-represented at this Olympiad.”
Universities whose presidents were invited to the opening ceremony are University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, Waseda University, Ritsumeikan University, University of Goettingen, University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and University of Macau, along with Yale, Johns Hopkins and Rice.
“Rice University enjoys a high reputation in the U.S. and the world,” wrote an official from the Chinese Ministry of Education. “Broad exchanges and research ties have been established between Rice and Chinese universities. The vision and efforts of President Leebron make the enhanced educational exchanges possible.”
The invitation from the Chinese Ministry of Education is another indication of the progress Rice has made in achieving its Vision for the Second Century goal of becoming a more global university, particularly by increasing Rice’s visibility in China, said Provost Eugene Levy.
“The investment of time and leadership to initiate and cultivate these relationships is already yielding benefits in terms of the growth in the number of foreign students attending Rice, in the exchange of faculty and students between Rice and Chinese institutions and in the emergence of exciting new research collaborations,” he said.
Earlier this summer Leebron and visited a number of Chinese universities and higher education officials to extend Rice’s international reach and to develop new research collaborations. During that trip, Rice University and China’s Zhejiang University signed an agreement to establish an International Collaborative Center on Quantum Matter, and Leebron received an honorary doctorate from China’s Nankai University in Tianjin, where he lectured on Sino-American relations.