Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Thursday, January 31, 2008

Student on Fulbright, La Follette professor do lunch — in Beijing

One of the hallmarks of the La Follette School's small program is that professors often go the extra mile for their students.

So La Follette School professor Melanie Manion's offer to buy student Allison Quatrini lunch in January was not all that surprising, since professors are so accessible to students.

Professor shares knowledge at corruption workshop in China

Faculty member Melanie Manion was one of five American anti-corruption experts and several Chinese colleagues at the workshop on constructing legal institutions for anti-corruption at Peking University on January 12-13. The China Law Center of Yale Law School organized the workshop in collaboration with the Peking University Law School.

Manion was the only participant with expertise on both anti-corruption issues and Chinese politics. Her book Corruption by Design: Building Clean Government in Mainland China and Hong Kong (Harvard University Press, 2004) is being translated for publication in mainland China.

The other American participants were Susan Rose-Ackerman (Yale University), Alasdair Roberts (Syracuse University), Nancy Boswell (president, Transparency International–USA), and Peter Clark (partner, Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft LLP).

However, they had lunch in Beijing.

Manion took time out from a workshop on constructing legal institutions for anti-corruption efforts at Peking University in mid-January. In China since August on a Fulbright scholarship, Quatrini had arrived in Beijing in December to start her research at Peking University.

"I wanted to connect Allison and Professor Xie Qingkui, who is one of the most prominent public administration scholars in China," Manion says. "It is practically impossible to get anything done in China without good friends, and I've known Professor Xie for 20 years."

Xie heads the Chinese Local Government and Local Administration Research Center where Quatrini will examine the link between the election and selection of local government officials (called cadres) and the practice of Confucianism in a Leninist context. She is focusing on the open recommendation and selection method of choosing township officials.

"I hope my research will answer three questions," Quatrini says. "One, where do we see manifestations of Confucian theory and practice in cadre selection procedures? Two, how do the Chinese define legitimate democracy? And three, how successful is open recommendation and selection in maintaining a Leninist framework while advancing China's political agenda?"

Woman watches while another pours tea

Above: Allison Quatrini, right, performs a traditional tea ceremony. She is one of 18 University of Wisconsin-Madison students who received Fulbrights for the 2007-08 school year. The Fulbright program administered by the Institute of International Education sends more than 1,000 students and professionals abroad every year.

Below: Quatrini pauses in front of Tianchi Lake, Changbaishan, Jilin Province, China.

Before arriving in Beijing, the international public affairs student spent almost four months in Harbin in Heilongjiang Province in northeastern China. She took two introductory courses, one in newspaper reading and another in classical Chinese to prepare her for her research at Peking University. "I now have little difficulty in communicating," she reports. "I can read newspapers and Chinese books with greater ease — I went to a bookstore yesterday looking for books to use for my research project, and I had no difficulty finding what I needed."

She won the Fulbright scholarship and a Critical Language Enhancement Award, a new part of the Fulbright program to increase the number of Americans learning needed languages that is affiliated with the National Security Language Initiative.

Quatrini earlier won a Foreign Language and Area Studies Graduate Fellowships from the U.S. Department of Education. She used it to complete an intensive language studies program at Wisconsin's Beloit College, where she studied intermediate Mandarin Chinese. She eventually wants to pursue a Ph.D. in political science and Asian studies.

Manion and Xie worked together on a survey project in the late 1980s and 1990s and they have kept in touch since — Manion tries to see him every time she travels to China to conduct her research on corruption and Chinese politics and policy.

Professor Xie joined the lunch group and gave Quatrini suggestions for contacts to help her plan her field research. "I especially appreciated his taking us to his office so I could find him easily again," Quatrini says.

"I told Professor Xie that this working relationship makes him sort of a grandfather, as he was my mentor and Allison is my student," Manion says.

La Follette student wins Fulbright to study language, governance in China, May 27, 2007, La Follette School News