By Jess Clarke, contributing writer
Norwich Prof. of Economics and Finance Mehdi Mohaghegh spent six weeks in China this summer, teaching courses in micro and macroeconomics for Global Maximum educational Opportunities Inc. (g-MEO). His classes were held at the University of Sciences and Technology in Chengdu, China.
The experience served the dual purposes of deepening his understanding of the world’s second-largest economy and expanding Norwich University’s international role and visibility, particularly its business school.
“I want our students to learn about China’s economic development experience in the past and its present-day socioeconomic issues. “With China being the second largest economy in the world and a major trading partner for us, anything that happens in there can affect our economy,” says Mohaghegh, who discusses the adoption of the free-market system in China over the past four decades and the interrelationship between the U.S. and Chinese economies in his classes at Norwich.
Mohaghegh says his assessment of China’s economy today is not encouraging, noting its slowing economy, aging population, inefficient financial system, increasing inequality in income distribution, and the formation of a bubble in its real estate market.
Despite those challenges, China’s transformation has been impressive, Mohaghegh says.
“I was surprised about the effectiveness of the free-market system in organizing economic activities that, in just a few decades, converted an overly populated society, which was characterized by widespread poverty and famine, into a dynamic and modern society in which people have jobs and live their lives comfortably and peacefully,” he says.
Najiba Benabess, associate professor and director of Norwich’s School of Business and Management, shared high praise for her colleague and his trip. “Professor Mehdi is a great economist. He has a great global perspective,” Benabess said, adding that establishing and maintaining global connections is an important part of the education that Norwich University delivers.
“As a business school, we’re trying to promote global engagement, for students to go abroad and also have faculty go abroad to teach Norwich courses,” Benabess says. “Any time we’re increasing the visibility of Norwich, that’s fantastic.”
“I would like for the School of Business and Management to be the leading school for internationalization of Norwich University, whether through a faculty exchange program or encouraging students to study abroad for at least one semester.”
Mohaghegh, who has taught at Norwich for 30 years, hopes to receive a grant from the university’s Politi Scholarship Fund to take students to Beijing and Shanghai next summer.
The fund previously enabled Mohaghegh lead students on trips to Morocco and Turkey.
In May 2015, Politi Scholarship Funds allowed him to take six students on an 11-day trip to Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, and Turkey.
Students visited the historical cities of Istanbul, Venice, Ljubljana, Bled, Piran, and Rovinj, exploring the cultural links and historical roots of international trade at the Western end of the Silk Road. The network of trade routes played a central role in cultural and economic exchange through regions of the Asian continent, connecting East and West.