Consulting Editors

Haiwang YUAN, Western Kentucky University

Haiwang Yuan 袁海旺 is a long-time Berkshire friend. He was the general editor of This Is China: The First 5,000 Years and is the author of a number of books about Chinese culture and history. He comes from Tianjin and arrived in the United States in 1988 as a Fulbright student. He graduated from Indiana University at Bloomington with degrees in both history and library science.  Professor Yuan has been a member of the faculty of the Department of Library Public Services at Western Kentucky University since 1997. He serves as special assistant to the Dean of Libraries, was a member of the board of the Chinese American Librarians Association, and is currently serving on the Diversity Council of American Library Association.

He has generously provided not only valuable feedback and ideas for ChinaConnectU, but also the Chinese proverbs and their corresponding stories. Haiwang has an entire website devoted to Chinese proverbs, one of the most fascinating aspects of the Chinese language. Please visit his website here.

  • Haiwang’s favorite thing about ChinaConnectU: I love its education angle and its roots in the five-volume Berkshire Encyclopedia of China. Of course, I also love the proverb and proverbial stories section.
  • Favorite Chinese food: 韭菜虾仁饺子 Jiǔcài xiā rén jiǎozi  (Chinese chive and shrimp dumplings made by himself).

Jane ORTON, University of Melbourne

Director, Chinese Teacher Training Center
Graduate school of education, University of Melbourne (staff profile)

Jane Orton is our key contact Down Under. She is an internationally known expert on the teaching of Chinese and the training of Chinese language teachers. She is the director of the Chinese Teacher Training Centre (CTTC) at the University of Melbourne, in Melbourne, Australia. The CTTC was established by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in collaboration with China’s Hanban Office in 2009. She has designed and published a number of innovative electronic language teaching resources for Chinese, and she is directing a project funded by the NALSSP Strategic Partnerships that involves the videoing of actual Chinese classes to be shown and discussed online.

Jane’s role at ChinaConnectU is to ensure that we set high standards in our reviews of Chinese teacher education and teaching materials.  Australia started with Chinese classes in elementary and high schools some decades before the United States did, and we can learn a lot from the experiences of, and the work done by the CTTC. Although Jane lives on the other side of the world, she has family ties in a town less than thirty miles from China ConnectU’s offices in Great Barrington, Massachusetts – a wonderful piece of serendipity that proves again how small our world can be.

  • Jane’s favorite thing about ChinaConnectU: Enthusiastic but also cool-eyed realistic.
  • Favorite Chinese food: Old Beijing-style 宫保鸡丁Gōngbǎo jīdīng (Spicy diced chicken, also known in the West as Kung Pao chicken).


Joan Lebold COHEN

Joan Lebold Cohen is an art historian, photographer and curator. She began studying Chinese art in 1960, which it has informed her vision as a photographer and served as inspiration for the exhibitions she organized and books she has written. Living many years in China, Japan, and Hong Kong where the art, landscape, and people have informed her head, heart, and lens. She wrote, exhibited, and published photographs of Asia since 1973, and in China Today and her Ancient Treasures co-authored with her husband Jerome A. Cohen, an expert in Chinese law. The book was a Book of the Month Club alternate.

 Alan GELB

Author of the best-selling Conquering the College Admissions Essay in 10 Steps (Ten Speed Press), Alan Gelb is a novelist, nonfiction writer, and nationally recognized authority of a particularly challenging aspect of the college admissions process. He coaches students all over the world on how to write a winning college admissions essay. On ChinaConnectU, he gives advice to Chinese students who want to apply for college in the United States. You can find his blog posts on the Zouchuqu blog.

  • Alan’s favorite thing about ChinaConnectU: Bringing cultures together.
  • Favorite Chinese food: 椒盐虾 Jiāoyán xiā (Salt & pepper shrimp).

ChinaConnectU Staff


Karen Christensen is a publisher and writer specializing in sustainability, social networking, and China. She has edited award-winning academic works including the Encyclopedia of Community and is the author of a number of popular environmental books. She is CEO of Berkshire Publishing Group, which she cofounded in 1998.

  • Karen’s favorite thing about ChinaConnectU: Giving educators a chance to share their hard-won knowledge and to communicate their questions and needs.
  • Favorite Chinese food: 麻婆豆腐 Mápó dòufu (Stir-fried tofu in chili sauce)– there’s the Szechuan dish and the Beijing fermented dish and I love both.

Rachel CHRISTENSEN (Tech Support)

Rachel spent her first few years in London before moving to the northeastern US  in 1990. She attended college at the University of Vermont, and has been the project coordinator of This Fleeting World, This Is China, and This Is Islam.

  • Rachel’s favorite thing about ChinaConnectU: The gallery of images.
  • Favorite Chinese food: 辣味肉串Làwèi ròuchuàn (Spicy kebabs).


Marjolijn (Mar) KAISER 柯悠伦

Born and raised in the Netherlands, Marjolijn studied Chinese in Leiden, Beijing, and holds an MA in modern Chinese literature from the University of Oregon. She lived in Beijing for a year, studying Chinese at Peking University. She traveled extensively throughout China, including trips to Tibet, Mongolia, Heilongjiang, and Hainan. She moved to Boston for love and a career in publishing, and combines her passion for China and books as a project coordinator at Berkshire.

  • Mar’s favorite thing about ChinaConnectU: The proverbs with their stories (provided by Haiwang). I love me some good old fashioned 成语!
  • Favorite Chinese food: 红烧茄子 Hóngshāo qiézi (Soy sauce braised eggplant).

Anna MYERS 梅安娜 (Design)
Graphic designer and illustrator Anna Myers lives in Massachusetts, with her very artistically inclined family. At age 14 she decided that illustrating and designing books was the thing she most wanted to do, and has worked toward that goal ever since. She holds an MA in Illustration from Western Connecticut State University. Because of her mixed heritage (Chinese and European American), Anna strongly believes in taking a multicultural approach with her work, finding unity in diversity, and conveying acceptance of cultural differences as a way to finding peace on an individual and global scale. Check out her website here.

  • Anna’s favorite thing about ChinaConnectU: Learning so much about China from researching images for the articles.
  • Favorite Chinese food: Her grandmother’s version of 罗汉斋 Luóhàn zhāi (Monk’s food or Buddha’s delight).