China – Where Knowledge Is Valued

My travels took me to China a couple of weeks ago. Initially to Hunan Province and then on to Beijing.  There will be a few entries relating to food retailing in China here over the coming weeks as well as a commentary or three on the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.  So, watch this space.   But, I would like to kick off with a few thoughts  about the other reason for the trip – which was to give a key note address on the role of Action Learning within the context of organisational development at a symposium on that topic at Peking University.  And no, I have not accidentally reverted to Beijing’s previous ‘label’ here, I did this deliberately.  The university went back to the original ‘Peking’ version of its name when it discovered that its brand image was severely impacted through the politically correct name change. 

My Mandarin Was Not Good Enough To Cope Without A Translator

So, here I was, the only Laowai amongst three hundred Chinese – and I have to say, I felt very comfortable.  One of my hosts had recently completed a Masters Degree  in Horticultural Extension at Wageningen University in Holland so it was easy to find common ground.  It was fascinating to see how the horticultural value chain has advanced in China anyhow – but the opportunity to gain an insight into how learning is being managed in this economy full of superlatives was something else altogether.   

Learning is being taken very serious in this country – and the appreciation for knowledge runs through the Chinese social fabric regardless of the century one lives in and the prevailing politcal system of the moment.

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