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Lecture series culminates with 30 years in China

The final destination for New Mexico State University's "Global Connections" lecture series is China. Elvira Hammond, a history professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, spent close to 30 years traveling, working and living throughout the People's Republic of China as it transitioned.

Elvira Hammond shown standing from the waist up.
Elvira Hammond, a college assistant professor in the Department of History, and Chinese colleague, Frank Mou, stand in the Tomb of the First Emperor of China, Qinshi Huangdi (259-210 bce). Hammond will discuss her experience during the last segment of the College of Arts and Sciences "Global Connections" lecture series at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, in the CMI Theatre. (Courtesy photo)

"China is rapidly changing; people have greater opportunities for education, jobs and travel," Hammond said. "Chinese youth take so much for granted now that their parents could not ever imagine. I especially love spending time with China's senior-most population; people who have lived through domestic, political, social and economic turmoil of astounding proportions and have shown incomparable resiliency."

She will discuss her experience with "Exploring China: Changing Expectations, Changing Realities," at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, in the Creative Media Institute Theatre.

"Over the years I've been lucky enough to climb sacred mountains to see some of the most ancient Buddhist architecture in China." Hammond said. "I've met villagers in remote places who had never encountered foreigners before, I've been to training schools for young acrobats, artists and musicians, I've watched the Yangtze River rise over the last decade as one of the world's largest dams was constructed, but I will never ever lose the thrill of climbing up to the Great Wall - no matter how many times I've done it it always takes my breath away."

During her most recent trip, Hammond led an expedition for National Geographic. The small group traveled from Beijing to Xian and Chongqing, cruised on the Yangtze River and visited Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Hammond made her first trip to the People's Republic of China in 1983 as a foreign exchange student. After that, she worked with educational and cultural institutions to develop study abroad opportunities. Most recently, she has worked as an expert for major museums and other institutions traveling in China and teaches American students abroad during the summer months.

Hammond will talk about her experiences as a foreign exchange student, and the years she spent developing and working on study abroad and tourism programs. She will also speak on her current role as NMSU instructor and Confucius Institute co-director.

"I have marveled at the growing opportunities for study in China - the openness of the society, the understanding of what experiences can be most meaningful and the enduring friendships over the decades." Hammond said.