Today was the first official day of the workshop and, along with the compulsory nametag, each participant was presented with a gift bag containing a commemorative COSEE t-shirt and a beautiful plaque from our Chinese collaborators. These will make amazing keepsakes of our experience.
The meeting began with welcoming speeches and introductions. Then it was time to get down to business. We learned about the state of ocean science research and education in both countries. As Dr. Chen noted, comparing crocodiles and alligators will give you more information than studying just the croc, meaning comparing our two systems will help us to learn more about our own. After the talks outlining the background information and lunch, we moved on to talk of the COSEE Network. We learned the origins of COSEE, how it is run, and were provided with an example of a successful COSEE center, COSEE Southeast. Now we were prepped for group discussions. We split ourselves into groups with representatives from both countries and shared our ideas on the purpose and goals of a COSEE China. We also identified barriers and opportunities for COSEE China and international collaboration. This productive dialogue was followed by a poster session.
Participants from both countries exhibited their work and everyone was engaged in lively interaction. Lastly, it was time for dinner. The food was delicious though mysterious, even our Chinese friends could not identify all of the dishes. After dinner, we parted ways, some left to blog and e-mail while others rested up for another productive day.