Global connections and collaborations foster openness and international cooperation in higher education

Global connections and collaborations are an important part of the mission of Washington University in St. Louis. As evidenced by the McDonnell International Scholars Academy program and research initiatives within it, the university recognizes that working together collectively can truly help solve some of the world’s most vexing issues.

This summer, representatives from Washington University took part in an executive council meeting of the University Alliance of the Silk Road, held at Xi’an Jiaotong University (XJTU) in China. A member institution of the McDonnell Academy, XJTU is a key strategic international partner for Washington University. Guy Genin, the Harold and Kathleen Faught Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science and McDonnell Academy ambassador to XJTU, led the university’s contingent to the meeting.

XTJU formed the alliance in 2015, and the organization now includes more than 100 universities located around the world. Its aim is to foster openness and international cooperation in higher education. Washington University joined the organization as the first North American member in 2016.

The session in Xi’an stressed innovation opportunities within the alliance, as well as how the organization can continue to support additional collaborative global opportunities.

“Technology is changing the world, but not solving its critical problems,” XJTU President Shuguo Wang said during the assembly. “We must work to bring the next generation together, and to solve these problems.”

Guy Genin, the Harold and Kathleen Faught Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, takes part in a panel during the University Alliance of the Silk Road Meeting at Xi’an Jiaotong University.

“The time spent in Xi’an with our colleagues from around the world was both productive and promising,” Genin said. “Washington University continues to develop as an entrepreneurship and innovation hub, and there were many things to discuss and share with our peers in that space.

“Listening to and learning from each other is vitally important to collaborative research success, and we were grateful for the opportunity to be part of the conversation,” Genin said.

Washington University’s ties to XJTU are especially strong. In addition to being a McDonnell Academy partner university, XJTU has dual degree programs in the School of Engineering & Applied Science and at the Brown School.


The McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis promotes independent inquiry and education with an emphasis on scientific excellence, innovation and collaboration without boundaries. McKelvey Engineering has top-ranked research and graduate programs across departments, particularly in biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and computing, and has one of the most selective undergraduate programs in the country. With 140 full-time faculty, 1,387 undergraduate students, 1,448 graduate students and 21,000 living alumni, we are working to solve some of society’s greatest challenges; to prepare students to become leaders and innovate throughout their careers; and to be a catalyst of economic development for the St. Louis region and beyond.

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