Director's Message

Gordon Houlden

It has been my great pleasure and honour to have led the China Institute of the University of Alberta (CIUA) as its first Director since my appointment in 2008, following my departure from the Canadian foreign service in that same year. My goal, in line with the original mandate of the China Institute, has been to use the China Institute to increase Canadian understanding of China, and to build a think tank which would enhance better understanding China, and what China will mean for Canada in this 21st century.

I believe that China is under-studied in this country, in our schools, and in our universities. China is not simply twenty percent of the world’s population, it also represents one of the world’s great civilizations, with a complex and rich history and culture. While the work of the CIUA concentrates on what the revival of China’s historic role as a great economic and political power means for Canada and Canadians, understanding China’s past is a necessary precursor to that assessment.

CIUA is lodged within a leading Canadian research university, and we have drawn upon that capacity in our work, collaborating across campus with scholars who have China interests. Our CIUA team has also been strengthened in our work by those who have come from China, the US, Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, reflecting the extent of interest in China research abroad. Working with these colleagues and with partner institutions in Canada and outside this country has been both fruitful and a source of personal satisfaction for me. I believe that the work to understand China and to design China policies for Canada has just begun, and yet can never be said to be finished.

In the New Year Jia Wang, who has served with distinction for nearly a decade, will become CIUA’s Interim Director until a University of Alberta search committee identifies a new Director at some point in 2021. I know that CIUA is in safe hands.

Going forward I will serve CIUA as Director Emeritus, and continue my China research while on sabbatical as Professor of Political Science and Adjunct Professor of the Alberta School of Business. My email address and contact information will remain unchanged.

I wish to thank our many readers, many of whom I know personally, for your support and assistance to the China Institute during my tenure, and I urge you to provide ongoing support our Interim Director and my successor.

Gordon Houlden
Director Emeritus, China Institute