How ICFJ's journalism program in Tsinghua University helps bridge cultural perceptions

Aug 12014

Rick Dunham is a firm believer that the best way to improve communication between countries is to encourage cultural exchange.

As the co-director of the Global Business Journalism program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, Dunham has witnessed how Chinese students have benefitted from learning alongside international students and vice versa.

"When we divide our graduate classes [at Tsinghua University] up into groups, I require that each group include at least one Chinese student and at least one international student. This prevents the students from associating only with people like themselves and forces them out of their cultural zone," he said during a discussion titled "Bridging the Perceptions: Covering the Blind Spot of Journalism in Cultures" at the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, D.C. on July 24.

Dunham jovially recalled how the program, which represents students from over 47 countries, is referred to as the “United Nations of Journalism”.

Launched seven years ago as a partnership between Tsinghua University and the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), it's the first of its kind offering a journalism Master's in English on the Chinese mainland. Since its creation, 214 students have graduated from the program.

Dunham said the program employs the philosophy of cross-cultural communication, endowing Chinese journalists with a better global understanding and international journalists with a sense of China - its economy, its people, its history and its culture.

“Working and talking together builds bridges and bridges cultural differences. Programs like mine – and programs that you might dream up – are the path to that future.”

Learn more about the program here. You can follow Rick Dunham on Twitter @rickdunham.