Hainan is an island about a sixth the size of Utah and the same latitude as Hawaii that is planning to open 40 five-star hotels and 30 golf courses by 2012.
Hainan is the southernmost province in the People’s Republic of China and has relied for centuries on tropical agriculture and fishing.
It has ambitious goals to increase its tourism and petrochemicals.
mical industries in the immediate future and is looking to educate its business, government and non-profit organization leaders in American MBA and Public Administration programs.
That goal is harmonious with the University of Utah’s aim to become Utah’s window to the world.
Ott presented four of the 23 MPA students at Utah from Hainan at the university’s Park City Institute lecture Wednesday at Silver Star.
The presentation started the fifth season of the Park City Institute that was established at the request of university president Michael Young.
‘It’s funny our institution and your community didn’t have much of a relationship (before) even though it’s only 28 miles and a right turn,’ Day said. ‘Mike Young thought it’d be fun to take the university on the road.’
President Young’s efforts to promote international studies have led to an explosion of innovative programming, Ott explained.
‘We’re globalizing our curriculum, globalizing our faculty and dragging the U into the community and the community into the U,’ he said.
There are currently dozens of faculty members in the social sciences alone doing research that somehow involves the nation of China, he said.
After looking around the nation, Ott said he’s confident that no other university has a relationship with a Chinese province like the one between the U of U and Hainan.
The students underwent an extremely competitive process to be selected because their government funds their entire experience. Ott said he believes the community can learn as much from the Hainan students as they are learning from us.
Park Record reported him as saying the island is unlike what many people think of as China.
Graduate student Deng Xiaogeng, deputy director of Hainan’s Provincial Development and Reform Commission, said, in addition to promoting tourism the island is working to have a space center with satellite launching facilities and supporting aerospace businesses.
He said the group has enjoyed learning about the presidential election process and other aspects of American politics including the commitment to rule of law, transparency in government, public participation and checks and balances.
Hainan hopes sending provincial leaders to American graduate programs will give its people a context for comparing the American system with its own as it struggles with how best to expand its economy, Ott said.
Steve and Valerie Chin attended and said it was a great program.
‘I think the more public officials from China that can come here to be educated the better off we all are,’ Valerie said.
They agreed Hainan’s interest in Utah is likely due to the state’s push to welcome global visitors and improve economic ties with Asia.