Terry Branstad

Ambassador-in-Residence at Drake University Terry Branstad will host and moderate the inaugural U.S.-China Symposium Nov. 17 at the Olmsted Center on Drake University’s campus. The event is free and open to the public. Register at drake.edu/branstad.

The symposium will bring together experienced professionals, academics, and other experts to speak on China and U.S.-China relations. The aim is to provide a platform for multiple viewpoints and opportunities for candid discussion.

Branstad is a former U.S. ambassador to China and the longest-serving governor in American history. As the ambassador-in-residence, he provides insight to Drake students about international affairs and U.S.-China relations.

Branstad’s engagement on campus complements Drake’s Center for Public Democracy, an interdisciplinary center focused on renewing a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

U.S.-China Symposium featured speakers include:

John Pomfret, an award-winning journalist and author of The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present. Pomfret will deliver a lecture on the history of the relationship between the United States and China, and what we can expect from U.S.-China relations after the 20th Party Congress.

Pomfret was a foreign correspondent for 20 years, spending seven years covering China—in the late 1980s during the Tiananmen Square protests, then from 1997 until the end of 2003 as the bureau chief for The Washington Post in Beijing.

Jonathan Fritz, Former Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, will join Ambassador Branstad and Steve Churchill, former Chief of Staff at the United States Embassy in Beijing, for an armchair conversation about current topics in U.S.–China foreign affairs.

Fritz has been the chief of staff to Jose Fernandez, the undersecretary for economic growth, energy, and the environment in the U.S. State Department since August 2021. Previously, he served as the deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs responsible for China, Mongolia, and Taiwan.

Min Fan, executive director of the U.S. Heartland China Association will lead a panel discussion on the past, present, and future of U.S.–China educational exchange.

Min was born in China and studied at Peking University. Her professional experience spans the corporate world, non-profit sector, and startup ecosystem. This includes leading the Ideation and Innovation Practice at Hewlett Packard Global Corporate Services, serving as the executive director and COO of the U.S. China Innovation Alliance and launching U.S. China Now.

This panel will feature the expertise of Yawei Liu, senior advisor at the Carter Center; Mary Gallagher, director of the International Institute at the University of Michigan; Daniel Palm, associate vice president for international affairs at the University of Arizona; Samantha McCabe, international student services director at the University of Wisconsin; Raven Witherspoon, Schwartzman Scholar; and Joel Glassman, director for the Center for International Studies at the University of Missouri.

Additional symposium sessions will cover disability rights and inclusive education in China, the long-standing relationship between Iowa and China, and perspectives on the rising geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China. View the full program.