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Home > News & Publications > Press Releases > 2014 > Kareem Participates in China’s 2014 Foreign Experts Symposium with President Xi Jinping

Kareem Participates in China’s 2014 Foreign Experts Symposium with President Xi Jinping

Nina Welding • DATE: July 11, 2014

International relations do not occur solely in the political arena. High-profile faculty who are experts in their fields often serve as ambassadors to other nations, interacting with academic colleagues in these countries, as well as with political and business leaders. Ahsan Kareem, the Robert M. Moran Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, has engaged in many of these types of opportunities. One of the most recent came through his participation in the 2014 Foreign Experts Symposium in Shanghai earlier this summer.

Organized by the Shanghai Municipal government’s Foreign Expert Bureau, the symposium offered a platform for advice and recommendations from a select group of 40 foreign experts who have lived and worked in China and have been heavily involved in the business and local communities. Kareem, and nine of the other experts, who had been asked to participate by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, were invited to share their recommendations to promote innovation in science and technology, finance, law, social sciences and academia via formal presentations to Chinese President Xi Jinping and other dignitaries. (To view a copy of Professor Kareem’s presentation, in Chinese or English, follow this link.) After the symposium, the group had a 90-minute private audience with President Xi Jinping at the State House where they continued discussing a range of topics related to national development, from reforming the talent evaluation system in China to encouraging innovation.

Kareem, who also serves as the director of the NatHaz Modeling Laboratory at the University, is globally recognized for his expertise in of structural engineering, including monitoring of hurricane winds and their load effects; development of innovative structural systems for tall buildings and analyses procedures for offshore drilling and production platforms; monitoring performance of coastal construction, deep-water offshore structures, tall buildings, bridges and industrial structures; risk modeling; and development of cyber-based collaborations for research and education in wind effects. He first visited China in 1984 and has continued to grow his ties with fellow researchers there since, work that culminated in his being appointed by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China as a high-end consultant to Tongji University — the highest level of appointment given to a foreign expert in China — and designation as honorary professor at Tongji University in Shanghai. Kareem, who also holds honorary professorships at Southwest Jiao Tong University in Chengdu and Hong Kong Polytechnic University, frequently serves as an advisory/guest professor at several other universities throughout China.

His most recent honors are his selection as a recipient of the Distinguished Research Award by the International Association for Structural Safety and Reliability and election as an inaugural fellow of the Engineering Mechanics Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers. In 2012 he was inducted to the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) Hall of Fame for his papers, which were presented in early years of the OTC and offered innovation, direction and lasting impact on the design, construction or installation of offshore infrastructure.

Kareem is also a distinguished member of the ASCE, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and a foreign fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering. He has received the ASCE’s State-of-the-Art Award for scholarly contributions to full-scale monitoring of tall buildings, was selected the inaugural recipient of the Alan G. Davenport Medal. In addition, he has received the Robert H. Scanlan Medal for outstanding original contributions to the study of wind-load effects on structural design and the Jack E. Cermak Medal in recognition of his contributions to the study of wind effects on structures. His receipt of the Davenport, Scanlan and Cermak medals is an unmatched recognition in his field.

A faculty member since 1990, Kareem graduated from the West Pakistan University of Engineering and Technology with distinction and, through a joint program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he earned his master’s degree in structural engineering from the University of Hawaii. He earned his doctorate in civil engineering, with a focus on structural and fluid dynamics, from Colorado State University.