U.S.-China Institute at Bryant University

About Us

Our Mission

The U.S.-China Institute at Bryant University forges academic, business, and cultural partnerships between Bryant University and higher learning institutions, business enterprises, and governmental offices in China.

Since March 2005, the U.S.-China Institute has sponsored seminars, events, and trips to China for students, faculty, alumni, and members of the business community. The establishment of The Confucius Institute in October 2006 further solidified our commitment to China education for K-12 schools and communities in New England.

Meet Our Staff

Hong Yang, Ph.D.
Vice President for International Affairs
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Professor Hong Yang is the Director of the U.S.-China Institute and the Confucius Institute. He joined the Science and Technology faculty at Bryant University in 1998 and founded the "Environmental Studies in China" program in 1999. His teaching and research interests include geology, molecular biology, and environmental science.

Professor Yang has earned degrees from institutions in China and the United States:

  • Ph.D. in Geology and Paleobotany, College of Earth Resources, University of Idaho, 1993
  • M.S. in Botany and Paleobotany, China University of Geosciences (Beijing), 1988
  • B.S. in Earth Science, with honors, Wuhan College, P.R. China, 1985

In addition to his work at Bryant, Dr. Yang is a research professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Yale University and a visiting professor at four Chinese universities. His academic accomplishments include:

  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow
  • Public Intellectual Fellow, National Committee on U.S.-China Relations
  • Edited two books and published over 40 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals
  • Distinguished Faculty Member award, Bryant University, 2006
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Kongli Liu
Associate Director
Assistant to Vice President for International Affairs
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Kongli Liu joined the U.S.-China Institute in 2007. Prior to his work at Bryant, Mr. Liu worked for three years at Primary Source, a Massachusetts-based non-profit education center, where he designed and implemented training programs for educators on Chinese history, culture and language. He also led American educator study trips to China and Japan. In China, Mr. Liu taught English at the University of International Relations in Beijing and Beijing New Oriental School.

Mr. Liu holds a Master's degree in education from Harvard University and MA and BA degrees in English Language and Literature from the University of International Relations in Beijing. Appointed by the Massachusetts Commissioner of Education, Mr. Liu served as member of the Global Education Advisory Council at the Massachusetts Department of Education. He is also on the Advisory Board of Directors for the Sino-American Bridge for Education and Health (SABEH). Mr. Liu is a frequent speaker on Chinese education and culture for students, educators, professionals, and communities. In 2013, Mr. Liu was a winner of Providence Business News' 40 Under Forty competition, which recognizes accomplished professionals in the State of Rhode Island.

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Kun Xie
Assistant Director for Confucius Institute
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With extensive experience in project/program management and coordination, Kun Xie joined the U.S.-China Institute at Bryant University as program coordinator for the Confucius Institute in 2007.

Ms. Xie's previous experience includes working at the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (SINOPEC Corp.) as a project manager overseeing and facilitating international cooperation projects for four years. Utilizing her experience and expertise, Ms. Xie then worked for GTECH Corporation as an analyst, conducting in-depth research on business practices and cultural environment of emerging markets. Most recently she worked for the Rhode Island Export Assistant Center as a research assistant and working on environmental education projects for K-12 students in Rhode Island.

Ms. Xie received a Master's in Business Administration from Bryant University and a B.S. in Economics from Tianjin University of Finance and Economics in China.

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John Forrest 
Assistant Director for Business Services
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John Forrest joined the U.S.-China Institute as Assistant Director for Business Services in 2014. Prior to joining the U.S.-China team at Bryant University he spent five years working at the Agricultural University of Hebei in Baoding, Hebei Province, one of China’s oldest institutions for higher education. There he taught English to undergraduate students, preparing many to study abroad. During that time he immersed himself in local life and he became familiar with traditional and modern Chinese culture. He is conversational in Mandarin and has passed the Hanban HSK level 5 (official Chinese proficiency test). 

John graduated from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology.  He has interned and worked in an ESL classroom as a teacher in the Pittsfield Public School system in Massachusetts. He has also traveled extensively in East Asia and Southeast Asia, to countries like Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

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Zhengxiang (Jason) Wang
Academic Coordinator
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Zhengxiang (Jason) Wang joined the U.S.-China Institute at Bryant University as an Academic Coordinator in March 2012.  He is a Bryant University alumnus with a BS in Marketing and study focus on Global Supply Chain Management.

Prior to his present position, Jason worked as an Assistant Manager to assist in the development of international/local marketing and sales for both Chinese and American companies. He interned at the U.S.-China Institute and engaged in Institute’s major events. He was also a consultant for Chinese and American companies on policies and procedures of cross cultural business. Meanwhile, he instructed American and international students in the language and culture exchange programs. Jason is bilingual and familiar with educational systems and cultures of both China and U.S.

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Tim Latshaw
Program Assistant for Confucius Institute 
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Tim Latshaw joined the Confucius Institute in May of 2018. As a student at Bryant,Tim majored in International Business with a concentration in Global Supply Chain Management and a minor in Chinese (Cum Laude). Tim participated in the Sophomore International Experience (SIE) to China, and studied abroad at the Beijing Institute of Technology, Zhuhai, during the fall semester of his junior year. While studying in Zhuhai, Tim interned at YoWa Sourcing, a Chinese logistics company. Since returning from Zhuhai, Tim has worked at the U.S.-China Institute, supporting a variety of Institute projects such as assisting in the implementation of our Lunar New Year celebration, assisting with administrative tasks and conducting event marketing through multiple social media platforms.

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Colleen Balk

Colleen Balk
Program Assistant 
401-232-6000 x 20517
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Colleen Balk ’16 joined the U.S.-China Institute at Bryant University as Program Assistant in April 2017. She is a Bryant University alumna with a bachelor’s degree in Chinese and minors in business administration and literary and cultural studies.

While at Bryant, Ms. Balk was a member of the Global China Connection e-board and a student worker for the Office of Residence Life. As a member of the Global China Connection club, she helped create and present Chinese cultural events for Bryant students to enjoy. Ms. Balk also studied abroad in Shanghai China during her junior year at Bryant. Through her travels in China, Ms. Balk was able to expand her knowledge and passion for Chinese culture.

Prior to her position at the U.S.-China Institute, Ms. Balk worked as a sales associate at Carousel Industries. She has also worked as an intern at her high school in Greenfield Massachusetts for two years. Throughout her internship, Ms. Balk taught English to international students during an English language intensive summer program.

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