Former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Hank Paulson Jr. outlined the environmental and political goals of China and the country’s ongoing relations with the U.S. in a conversation with Fortune Magazine Managing Editor Andrew Serwer Tuesday night.
Students and university leaders filled the Jack Morton Auditorium for the preview event to the 2013 Fortune Global Forum, a three-day, invitation-only gathering for CEOs and world leaders to engage in dialogue. The forum will be held June 6 to 8 in Chengdu, China.
The university will send a delegation to the forum and serve as Fortune’s education partner, providing access to the expertise of faculty and gaining use of the forum’s resources, according to President Steven Knapp, who opened the event with the announcement.
“We are honored to become the first and, so far, the only education partner for the Fortune Global Forum,” he said.
Mr. Serwer’s conversation with Mr. Paulson will serve as the basis for an upcoming Fortune Magazine article.
Acknowledging the rising power of China in the 21st century, Mr. Paulson emphasized the importance of employing sustainability across economic and urbanization models, saying that “economic growth and environmental protection are not at odds; they are two sides of the same coin.”
According to Mr. Paulson, 3 million Chinese citizens will move to cities in the coming years, making urban sustainability the country’s single most important goal.
He also stressed the importance of creating relationships between students in the U.S. and China because of the inevitable “ups and downs” between countries with leading global economies.
“It’s hard to become an adversary of people you understand,” he said. “Having American students spend time in China and vice versa is very important to U.S.-China relations in the future.”
Currently, GW has hundreds of alumni living in China and 1,200 Chinese students studying at the university, an increase of 67 percent for the 2012-13 school year. The university has also fostered academic partnerships with Renmin University of China- International College and Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) in Suzhou, as well as Fudan University in Shanghai. Additionally, the Confucius Institute, a program to promote the study of Chinese language and culture, will debut this month.
Mr. Paulson, who revealed he is working on a book about China that will be released next year, is the chairman of the Paulson Institute, a non-partisan organization at the University of Chicago founded in 2011. With an initial focus on the U.S. and China, the institution’s programs include sustainable urbanization, cross-border investment, leadership in the globalized world, entrepreneurship and organization.
He is also a preeminent expert on Chinese business and during his tenure as secretary of the U.S. Treasury, he was a key player in the creation of the U.S.-China Ten Year Energy and Environment Cooperation Framework, and established the Strategic Economic Dialogue. Mr. Paulson is also the former CEO of Goldman Sachs.