A political science professor at Wittenberg since 1991, Yu has drawn increasing attention from the global policy-making community for his professional and academic activities, which bring the abstract world of academia closer to the real world.
"I am interested in trying to bridge the theoretical and real world through analysis of foreign policy in professional journals, at conferences and in meetings with foreign policy practitioners around the world," he said.
This summer found him doing just that. After a conference trip to Taiwan in late May, Yu deliberated for nearly three days in July with scholars from Europe, mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan at a conference in San Francisco titled "Harmonious World: New Thinking in Chinese Domestic and Foreign Policies." This was the 20th annual conference of the Association of Chinese Political Studies (ACPS). Yu presented a paper, "Hu's Harmonious World: Beyond Cultural Interpretations," which he plans to revise and submit for publication.
His appearance at the San Francisco conference sparked an invitation by Channel 26, a Bay area Chinese language television station, to discuss Chinese foreign policy under the current leadership of Hu Jintao. He appeared with fellow expert Wang Jianwei, a professor at the University of Wisconsin. Watch Video...
Yu's interests and expertise in international relations are not limited to East Asian affairs. In June, he joined a conference trip titled "Germany and Europe in the New Century," organized by the College Consortium on International Education. The conference brought together American scholars with their German counterparts and German government officials at all levels, including a visit to the German Foreign Ministry to discuss transatlantic and bilateral U.S.-German relations.
Upon his return to the United States, he used his experience in Germany to analyze the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional security group led by China and Russia, and its relations with the United States. Yu is considered a world authority on the SCO and is among a limited number of scholars studying Russian-China relations and the evolution of the SCO.
His expertise in this particular area will keep Yu busy in the current academic year. In December, he will join a conference on Russian foreign policy in London organized by Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs), the most prestigious foreign policy think tank in Britain. Yu has also been invited to be a speaker for the Harvard-Berlin Dialogue Series in Berlin, Germany, in May 2008.
Despite his widespread participation in the real world of foreign policy, Yu's commitment to enriching Wittenberg's academic programs is still his priority. He traveled to Shanghai this summer to help Wittenberg coordinate a summer Chinese language and cultural camp that will begin in 2008 at Fudan University, the largest and most prestigious university in Shanghai and China. Yu was also instrumental in setting up the student exchange program between Fudan University and Wittenberg University.
"I am first and foremost a scholar and teacher. Teaching and writing are still the focus of my daily life," he said.
He is currently working on two books, one in English that analyzes China-Russian relations, and one in Chinese exploring the effect of 9/11 on Western theories of international relations. He has already written or co-authored six books, and he has published more than 60 scholarly and policy articles in journals, including Strategic Review, Harvard International Review and World Politics.
Yu's experience has made him a much sought-after expert for different media in both English and Chinese languages. Since the early 1990s, Yu has been a commentator for the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) on a wide range of issues, including world politics, economics and East Asian affairs. He was featured as an expert on the Korean War in a Canadian-French documentary, Korea: The Unfinished War in 2003. He is also a senior writer for Asia Times online.
Over the years, Yu has developed close ties with governmental and academic institutions in both the U.S. and China. He is one of the original members of the annual "Pacific Forum-Fudan (Shanghai) Dialogue," the only U.S.-China "unofficial" communication channel in 1999 when all other bilateral connections disconnected after the U.S. bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Serbia.
Since 1999, he has also been part of a small community of experts who work together to provide a quarterly analysis of East Asian foreign relations for the Pacific Forum, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), one of the most prominent foreign policy think tanks in the U.S. His analyses have appeared regularly in a CSIS e-journal called Comparative Connections. Since 2002, Yu has been senior fellow for the Shanghai Institute of American Studies, the first and only private think tank in China for U.S.-China relations.
Yu received his masters from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and his doctorate from Stanford University, where his focus was Russian-China relations. He also studied with David Holloway, considered the most prominent scholar on the Soviet military as well as Soviet security policies. In addition to teaching political science at Wittenberg, Yu teaches and is director of the East Asian studies department.
Written By: Gabrielle Antonaidis
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