Virginia Waaler, Director, China Executive Leadership Program and Allison Walter, Assistant Director, International Engagement, Communications and Protocol
|The China Executive Leadership Programs (CELP) and the Police Training Institute (PTI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign were recently selected to provide a public security program for police officers from the city of Qingdao, China, a coastal city slated to host the sailing events for the 2008 Olympic Games.
CELP has provided executive education programs for managers and directors from Chinese organizations since 1993, hosting over 3,000 participants in over 140 programs. Virginia Waaler, director of CELP, received the initial request from the city of Qingdao. “Qingdao contacted us directly because we had previously provided several public administration programs for their city,” said Waaler. When she learned of their interest in a public security program, she and Nianhua Wang, representative of the China Training Programs, contacted Tom Dempsey, director of the Police Training Institute.
The delegation of 20 officers was selected by the city of Qingdao’s human resources department, the city Foreign Expert Bureau and the city Public Security Bureau. Officers were chosen through a strict set of criteria, including age and fluency in English. Once selected, the group participated in a closed two-month English training course before traveling to Illinois.
When the delegation arrived, CELP held an orientation that provided necessary information for their time on campus. “All of our groups receive an overview of the program, [information on] the history of the University and Champaign-Urbana, a campus tour, and Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District bus passes,” said Waaler.
After orientation, the delegation attended lectures by PTI staff, counterterrorism experts, U.S. Olympic security officials, and guest speakers from various police departments, including Champaign, Urbana, and the University of Illinois. Lecture topics included an overview of American policing, waterborne security, Olympic security issues, international perspectives on terrorism, and law enforcement intelligence gathering. In addition to lectures, the delegation also learned how to operate various types of anti-terrorism equipment and visited Champaign and Springfield public safety agencies, including the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois DNA Lab.
At the conclusion of the eleven week campus program, the delegation traveled to former Olympic sites in Atlanta, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Salt Lake City. Wang accompanied the group and made arrangements for them to meet various local officials, tour Olympic sites including the Olympic Museum, and to see a mobile command center. “I think there is a brotherhood of police officers and they strive to do their best to make everyone feel welcome, honored and appreciated,” said Waaler. “In St. Louis, I believe [the delegation] had quite a police escort into town.”
At the conclusion of the program, the delegation was honored at a graduation luncheon and received certificates from the University of Illinois China Executive Leadership Programs and the Police Training Institute. Associate Provost for International Affairs William Brustein and Waaler later met the group in Qingdao and had the chance to speak with them about their experience with the program.
“I greatly enjoyed meeting with the delegation from Qingdao and was impressed with the group’s enthusiasm for their time spent at Illinois,” said Brustein. “They are excellent ambassadors for the University and are part of our efforts to enhance China’s drive to improve the quality of life for millions of Chinese. We are honored that CELP and PTI were chosen to provide valuable training for an event as prestigious as the 2008 Olympics and look forward to further strengthening the crucial bond between Illinois and China.”