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Foreign Experts Hailed with Top Gov't Award
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Selected from over 200,000 foreigners working in China, 49 foreign experts received the Friendship Award on Friday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.


The winners, from 19 countries, are engaged in fields as diverse as agriculture, energy resources, electronics, finance, education, scientific research, medicine, journalism and publishing.


The award, the highest honor that the Chinese government can confer on foreigners, was granted to 49 foreign experts this year, bringing the total to 899 since its establishment in 1991.


"I'm very honored to win the award," said Gavriel Salvendy, 68, dean of the Industrial Engineering Department at Tsinghua University.


Salvendy, who is also a member of the United States' National Academy of Engineering and a professor at Purdue University, was invited to open and manage Tsinghua University's department of industrial engineering in 2001.


Under his supervision and his brand of creative and innovative education, Tsinghua University is now the nation's leading academic institution in the field of industrial engineering.


Salvendy has also helped the department establish links with leading global companies such as IBM, Liberty Mutual and NTT.


"Industrial engineering can increase productivity, efficiency, customer satisfaction, safety and even health. It is one of the key factors that drives a country to become prosperous," said Salvendy, adding that he hoped his knowledge could help for China to become a leader in the IT industry.


"China already has a reputation for cheap goods and cheap labor. This is okay at the beginning of industrialization, but after some years, China should look at areas to where it can be a leader," he told China Daily.


He is now trying to persuade the university's administration to set up a national center to evaluate the usability of software developed in China.


"Such a laboratory has not been set up anywhere else in the world. China can take the lead in this field and establish high standards in the IT field," he said.


(China Daily September 30, 2006)

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