China Center Staff

Joan Brzezinski
Joan Brzezinski
Executive Director

Joan Brzezinski, executive director of the China Center, graduated from Hamline University with a bachelor’s degree in East Asian history and completed a Master of International Management degree at the University of St. Thomas. While at Hamline University, she was selected to participate in the reciprocal exchange program at Peking University, the first undergraduate-level exchange program with a private university in the U.S.

Joan worked in tourism and wholesale travel marketing in both China and the U.S. for more than ten years, and later served as a business consultant to companies working in China. She has spent time in 30 of the 31 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions across Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In 1997, she joined the China Center where she administered the China Center’s business and activities. From 2008–2019, Joan also served as director of the Confucius Institute, developing professional development and cultural programs for schools and Mandarin instructors across the state. She is passionate about cross-cultural education, higher education exchanges, and building U.S.-China bridges to foster understanding and connect people in both countries in meaningful ways.

Haiyan Wang
Haiyan Wang
Associate Director

Haiyan earned her bachelor's degree in Chinese Language and Literature from Fudan University in Shanghai. She then obtained two master's degrees: one in history from Stanford University and one in global and international studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Before she joined the China Center, she was the assistant director and lecturer in the China and Asia-Pacific Studies Program at Cornell University. With many years of experience in cross-cultural research, education, and project management, Haiyan is very pleased to become part of the China Center.  Along with the team, she will continue to promote U.S.-China exchange and collaboration through her expertise and passion.

headshot of Jing Wei
Jing Wei
Program Specialist

Joining the China Center team in 2024, Jin Wei continues her passion for bridging the U.S. and China through enriched people-to-people exchange. Previously she has devoted the majority of her professional journey to the Commercial Service of the Embassy of the United States of America in Beijing accumulating invaluable experience in business, diplomacy, and cultural exchange. With a career spanning over 17 years, she engaged with diverse organizations and partners globally, prioritizing effective communication, collaboration, and cultural sensitivity. Jing's passion lies in promoting U.S. tourism to Chinese audiences, where her endeavors have left a positive impact on both individuals and communities. Jing holds a bachelor's degree from China Foreign Affairs University and is pursuing a Master of Professional Study in Art and Culture Leadership at the University of Minnesota.

Fran Liu
Fran Fangyuan Liu
China Office Director
86-10-8532 4068

Fran Fangyuan Liu became director of the University of Minnesota China Office in September 2019. Fran holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and earned her master's degree in business from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. After graduating from UMN, Fran served as executive president of the University’s alumni chapter in Beijing and hosted more than 20 alumni events each year.

In the professional world, Fran has more than five years of integrated marketing and business development experience at small to large companies, from start-ups to Fortune 500s. Fran is a passionate and innovative problem-solver who grew business revenue by 400% in one of her entrepreneurial experiences.

Fran first learned of the University of Minnesota when she was 12 years old. She is excited to join her alma mater and enrich the connections between the University and its key stakeholders and strong alumni base in China.