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March 22-28: The Future Is Now 

Shanghai screams internationalism. Stand on the Huangpu River in the center of town. To your west is the Bund, a historic stretch of European-style buildings that emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to accommodate Shanghai's expanding role in international trade and finance. Of course, while these were situated in China, these were European operations and the profits went almost entirely to Europe.

Meanwhile, to your east is the Pudong area, characterized by a futuristic skyline dominated by the Oriental Pearl Tower and a series of ultra-modern skyscrapers. The symbolism matters. The west is old, once preeminent but increasingly a historical relic. The east is flashy, dynamic, emergent, exciting. Forget the dilemmas of Beijing; Shanghai is confident and assertive. Shanghai is an impressive city, and it knows it.

Our focus in Shanghai is on economics and environment. As China continues to develop, as the economy continues to expand, questions persist. Of greatest significance: how sustainable is this? Will growth continue? Is the future being mortgaged in the interests of short-term gain? What is the human impact? We will seek answers to these questions in the following areas:

International Business: While we specifically examined the migrant labor experience in Qingdao, there is much more to consider on the subject of international business. In Shanghai, our focus shifts more to the "white collar" industries. We will meet with American corporations operating in Shanghai to learn about how they address concerns related to labor, human rights, and working with the Chinese government. Students will spend a day on a job-shadow, following ex-pats working in China.

Education: What is the school experience like for Catlin's Chinese peers? We will visit a boarding school in Shanghai and students will spend two days staying with their peers--sleeping in dorms, attending class, and getting a glimpse into the general approach to learning and teaching. How do young Chinese think about the future? What are their goals? In the city of the future, this is a chance to engage the next generation.

Non-Profit Sector: While business is booming and many are becoming richer than they ever could have imagined, hundreds of millions are struggling. Is there a safety net? Is there a civil society that can help meet the needs unaddressed by the government? In China, the non-profit sector has been slow to develop, but there are signs of its emergence. We will meet with the Non-Profit Incubator, the major force for the promotion of non-profits in China, at their brand new complex in Shanghai.

A Green City: Much has been made about Shanghai's efforts to promote sustainable energy and green living. The Urban Planning Museum has a remarkable exhibit devoted to this work and we will look to speak with local city planners about their goals for the future.

And More: You can count on a number of cultural activities, including: a day-trip to Portland's sister city, Suzhou (the "Venice of China"), a Chinese acrobatics show, and a sporting event (TBD).

Accommodation in Shanghai: We will spend the first three days in the dorms of our sister school and then we will transition to a central hostel.