On Saturday, November 9th, University of Minnesota alumnus Dr. Patrick Mendis made a special stop during his Asian book tour to meet with fellow alumni in Beijing as a part of the ongoing China100 Celebration. Dr. Mendis was the keynote speaker at the event, where he engaged about 25 alumni in a lecture and conversation about the cultural differences and similarities between the United States and China, and how each nation’s respective cultural identity may shape future economic policies and social practices. While promoting his new book, Peaceful War, he announced that all proceeds will go to the Humphrey School of Public Policy & Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Mendis has a long and distinguished history of academic and professional achievements, which are too lengthy to describe here, but which include academic posts at the Universities of Minnesota, Yale, Maryland, and George Mason University, where he is currently a professor of public and international affairs. He has also published several books, written more than one hundred scholarly articles, and has served the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the World Bank, the United Nations, and the U.S. Department of State, where he received both the Benjamin Franklin Award and the Meritorious Honor Award. He is truly accomplished and we were honored to have him as a guest speaker at the Beijing Office.
In keeping with the China100 theme, where we are celebrating the University of Minnesota’s 100thyear of relations with China and Chinese students, Dr. Mendis and all alumni at the event each recalled a brief yet warm memory of their time on campus. Actually, a surprising number of alumni talked about their first experiences with Minnesota’s harsh and cold weather! Several alumni shared that they met their spouses at the U, proving the university can be enriching in many ways! Dr. Mendis shared a couple entertaining stories of how he would place his baby boy into his backpack and carry him around campus, even letting him sleep in class while he lectured—apparently, whenever his child would wake up several students were tasked to rock him gently in his cradle with their feet.
After the formal gathering ended, Dr. Mendis stayed to chat with alumni for more than an hour. In fact, he was the last person to leave the event. Thank you to everyone that came to this gathering to make a very memorable and special event. It’s always great when we have the chance to welcome several newcomers as well as our most active alumni. We look forward to seeing you all at the next China100 event!