Students head for West Point in exchange

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 November, 2011, 12:00am


Peking University will send 10 students in January to the world- renowned United States Military Academy at West Point.

The two-week exchange programme, during the forthcoming winter recess, will give them a taste of how the academy cultivates leadership qualities.The terms of the programme, the first of its kind between West Point and Peking University, were finalised over the weekend during a visit to the university by David Huntoon, West Point's chancellor.

Two West Point cadets are studying Chinese at Peking University for a semester as part of the exchange programme. A university official said the forthcoming selection would be open to students in all fields of studies. The selected students will follow the same curriculum as West Point cadets, aimed at strengthening their leadership skills and teamwork, while building character. They will also be required to write reports at the end of the programme to share their experiences with their fellow students.

Since West Point's founding in 1802, the academy has produced illustrious alumni including two American presidents - Ulysses Grant and Dwight Eisenhower - four additional heads of state, 18 astronauts, 2,700 generals and many top corporate executives.

Mainland academics are excited about the exchange programme, as West Point is among the world's top leadership institutes. Its motto is 'Duty, Honour, and Country.'

Professor Yang Zhuang, who heads Peking University's international MBA programme, said earlier this year mainlanders had been too single-minded in pursuit of wealth. Life lessons such as character-building and improving a person's spiritual wellbeing had been largely overlooked. 'That's why we're moving toward stressing character and personality cultivation from what we've learned from West Point,' Yang said.