Concept Behind Burlingame University

“Building Trust through Strategic Partnerships”

The concept behind Burlingame University is to build synergy between China and the United States on issues of global importance, including fostering greater cooperation between them and other nations, providing resources and scholarship, and nurturing the next generation of young leaders from around the world who can shape global peace and prosperity to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

In his time, Anson Burlingame was a man admired for his integrity and high moral principles. He was also a unique person in the history of China and the West. Abraham Lincoln appointed him the U.S. ambassador to China. At the end of his stint, the regent behind the throne, Prince Gong, asked Burlingame to be the ambassador from China to the West.

Unlike ambassadors of other western powers, when Burlingame arrived in Beijing, he let everyone know that he was an advocate for respecting the sovereignty of China; that China was not simply a nation to be carved into territories and assigned to the western powers. Thus he won the admiration and trust of the imperial court.

Because the Burlingame Treaty of 1868 that he negotiated with the U.S. agreed to equally protect and recognize the rights of the citizens belonging to either party, the Chinese government had the confidence to send a group of 120 young boys to the U.S. for further education. The first group arrived in 1871. Thus Burlingame made possible for the beginning of official student exchange between China and the U.S.

He died in 1870 in St. Petersburg while in the service of China. The Manchu Court of Beijing posthumously honored him as imperial official of the first rank, the highest rank normally reserved for relatives of the emperor.

Naming a new university of international studies after Burlingame would be a fitting tribute to his memory and at the same time accurately reflect the values of this individual. This endeavor would also include collaboration with the City of Burlingame, California.


The charter of the new university would be to accept students from all over the world to study issues important to the peaceful development of humankind. The curriculum will include studies of one belt and one road initiatives, global climate change, world health, alleviation of human misery and poverty, religious conflict vs. harmony, and improving China’s relations with the western powers.

Burlingame University will foster dynamic approaches to the discovery and co-development of new capabilities that can help build trust and collaboration among many cities and nations, effectively empowering enhanced community resilience, connecting generations, and cultivating a wide array of new global partnerships.


Promoting U.S.-China Collaboration with Other Nations

Burlingame University2 will highlight the benefits of coordinated and collective action between the United States and China bringing together students from both nations, along with those from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. This means developing in China a university platform to encourage multi-regional education and training to provide advice and assistance to local economic development and political reform efforts. A key goal is to produce strategic partnership opportunities for enhanced U.S.-China relations in every region of the world based upon appropriate win-win strategies.


Nurturing Young Leaders

Shared global risks and opportunities require the next generation of leaders in all countries to be innovative problem solvers and analysts. This calls for fresh approaches to policy education for future leaders. With support from the Chinese government, Burlingame University would provide fully funded scholarships for students from nations around the world to attend its programs. We propose that as part of this endeavor a scholarship program for U.S. student participation be named in honor of President Jimmy Carter.


Conducting Research and Providing Scholarship

Burlingame University will produce original scholarship that provides action-oriented insights for advancing U.S.-China collaboration on global issues. Central to this, the University could convene an annual counterpart event to Carter Center Forum on U.S.-China Relations and organize workshops to create a better future. Its contribution would be to explore new pathways toward holistic, cross-discipline and divergent thinking–which can empower connectivity and information sharing thereby fostering a global progression from challenges, to opportunities, to solutions.


1 Burlingame, California, named after the diplomat Anson Burlingame, is a wealthy suburb of San Francisco. It has a
significant shoreline on San Francisco Bay and is called the “City of Trees” due to the number of trees within the city
and its numerous eucalyptus groves. Burlingame is known for its high residential quality of life with an excellent public
school system.


2 Burlingame University is proposed to be established in the very attractive Chinese city of Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province,
the original home of Nobel Laurate and author Pearl Buck and the final resting place of the Christian missionary,
Hudson Taylor. It would be part of a new University City complex comprised of ten existing universities and be
developed in collaboration with the “Wisdom Hub,” a strategic partnership between local authorities and the California-
Jiangsu Enterprise Development Group.