Former Utah governor, 2012 presidential candidate and 1987 College graduate Jon Huntsman is returning to campus this afternoon to discuss United States-China relations.
Huntsman, a former ambassador to China, will be the first speaker in a series of annual lectures offered by the Center for the Study of Contemporary China.
The event, which requires no advance registration, is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in Jon M. Huntsman Hall, named after Gov. Huntsman’s father.
“There wasn’t any doubt in our minds that if we could get Gov. Huntsman, he would be the one to get, in part because he was an ambassador to China recently, and also because he has close Penn connections,” Director of CSCC and political science professor Avery Goldstein said. “He’s the perfect fit for what we hope to entice when we’re recruiting speakers for this annual event.”
According to Goldstein, Huntsman requested that the talk be interactive. Instead of delivering a lecture for the full 90 minutes, Huntsman will speak for a few minutes at the start of the event and then answer questions from Goldstein in an interview format. Afterwards, he will also answer questions from the audience.
Several classes and academic departments publicized the event through their listservs. In addition, Goldstein offered his students the opportunity to suggest questions they would like answers to, which he said he will attempt to incorporate into the interview.
“We want to keep it pretty broad so he will be able to address what he wants to address,” Goldstein said.
Huntsman serves on the board of several organizations, including the Trustees of the University, Ford Motor Company and Caterpillar Corporation.
While the Center offers a variety of other events throughout the year, CSCC hopes to make a high-profile speaker — such as a prominent public servant or an academic — an annual event, Goldstein said.