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Lawrence University welcomes more than 20 top Chinese high school students and their advisors Saturday, August 4 as part of an 18-day educational tour of Midwest colleges.

The visit is part of the “Rivers as Bridges” program, which seeks to establish relationships between the people of the Mississippi and Yangtze basins using culture, conservation and commerce as frames of reference. During the nearly three-week-long program, the students are learning scientific procedures in field research, wet labs and hands-on experiments involving air, water, biology, soil, fisheries, wildlife and wetlands.

In conjunction with their visit, the students will conduct a poster session in the Warch Campus Center for invited guests that reflect topics they’ve studied on their Midwest visit, including the Mississippi River, water and land resources, environmental protection and American culture, among others. Lawrence student research from recent trips to China also will be presented. A dinner and certificate presentation honoring the students follows the poster display.

“Lawrence is delighted to welcome this group of talented Chinese students who are both prospective future Lawrentians and Chinese leaders. These activities nicely complement Lawrence’s own Sustainable China Program with its emphasis on developing new courses, study-abroad opportunities and collaborative research projects in China, all with an environmental focus,” said Marty Finkler, professor of economics and one of the SCP’s leaders.

Lawrence launched its Sustainable China Program last summer with the help of a $50,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.

One of the Rivers as Bridges program’s goals is to begin a youth-inspired relationship designed to renew the 1972 Shanghai Communiqué, a diplomatic document signed by President Richard Nixon and China Premier Zhou Enlai that sought to normalize relations between the two countries.

“We are excited to be part of history in connecting the people of our countries, using rivers as bridges,” said Xiaojun Lu, president of the Environment and Public Health Network for Chinese Students and Scholars, which is sponsoring the nearly three-week event along with the Iowa and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources.

Lawrence is one of 21 stops on the 2012 River as Bridges tour that also included trips to Chicago, Davenport, Iowa, and Madison, among others.