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Faculty Highlight | Professor XU Huayu

As the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development marks its fifth year of establishment, it also welcomes three new professors. The Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development exhibits one of the highest and strictest standards for selecting the teaching faculty as it symbolizes China’s commitment to international cooperation. The new additions this year not only mark the expansion of the faculty, but also commemorate the progress of the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development and the dedication of all stakeholders.


After receiving his Ph.D.in Economics from the University of Michigan, Professor XU Huayu joined the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development in 2020 as an assistant professor. His main research fields are Development Economics and Political Economics. 

How do you think of ISSCAD for far?

​I am excited to join ISSCAD at Peking University. It is definitely one of the most prestigious and unique programs in China. It distinguishes itself from most other programs or universities as we receive students from those less-developed countries all over the world. The students from ISSCAD are mostly middle to senior level government officials from developing countries who wish to pursue further education in national development and different fields of economics.

Since establishment, we have altogether enrolled over 200 students from 59 countries and have congratulated more than 120 alumni on the successful completion of their studies. These students will apply what they have learnt in our program to solve pressing social and economic issues after returning to their home countries. In that sense, ISSCAD is making huge differences in the world.


How would you describe your teaching style?

I incline to be inspired by my students. Since we come from quite different backgrounds, I would like to understand their preferred way of learning so that I can adjust my teaching to suit their needs. I try to be as inclusive and open-minded as possible, and always explain the same concept in different ways with different approaches to help the students better understand.

For instance, some students prefer intuitive explanations while others rely more on numbers and math. I try to do both so that there is always a style that suits each student. Additionally, some students learn better through group discussions while others prefer independent thinking. I would adjust my teaching style slightly based on their needs and preferences.


How would you characterize yourself?

Quiet, curious, and observant. I enjoy being by myself sometimes, so I could spend quality time reading and going back and forth on issues I find interesting. I am intrigued with rationales behind individuals’ seemingly irrational behaviors and puzzling social and economic phenomena.


How has your life been impacted by COVID-19?

Actually my wife is a doctor at Wuhan Xiehe Hospital. She happened to be rotated to the Fever Clinics right before COVID-19 broke out in Wuhan, the epicenter of the pandemic. While she was under tremendous pressure caring for patients suffering from the disease and working around the clock, she held her spirit up and fought on the frontline courageously for over three months.

This whole experience made me respect my wife more and all the medical workers around the world who have put their own health and safety at risk to save lives. I also hope that government around the world would be more invested in the overall establishment of basic medical facilities and primary health infrastructures, especially in developing countries, so that when a pandemic of this scale hits, more lives could be saved.


Words to students: 

"Be curious to learn about the world, economies and governent-related issues; be creative and think innotively when searching for solutions and be rigorous applying scientific approach. "
Editor: Olivia LOU