Prof Sir Steve Smith meets Professor Chen Jining, President of Tsinghua University.

South West by South East - Exeter strengthens links with China

Vice-Chancellor Sir Steve Smith led a delegation from the University of Exeter to China last week to consolidate the University’s links with three of the leading universities in China.  Tsinghua, Peking and Fudan universities are among the most highly ranked higher education institutions in Asia.

Deans of Exeter’s College of Humanities and of the Business School joined the delegation, which saw them sign Cooperation and Student Exchange Agreements with their counterparts at Peking and Tsinghua respectively.

Members of faculty from Modern Languages, English, Law, Education and Water Engineering departments engaged in detailed research discussions.  Several lectures and seminars were delivered, the most high profile of which saw Sir Steve deliver the 146th Global Vision lecture at Tsinghua University.

The College of Humanities followed up on research symposia held in recent months with Peking University and Fudan University.  Dean of the College of Humanities, Professor Nick Kaye, reflected on the recent History Colloquium which saw faculty from Exeter and Peking University developing collaborative plans around a ‘Global History’ theme.  His discussions with the College of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Fudan University resulted in plans for a research symposium which will involve 30 members of faculty from several disciplines in Humanities at Exeter and Fudan.

Dean of the Business School Professor Robin Mason travelled to Nanjing University of Finance and Economics (NUFE) and met with the Chancellor, Professor Zhanglong Chen, and Vice-President, Professor Chengming Xu.  The Business School and NUFE have a longstanding partnership which involves NUFE students studying at Exeter.  Professor Mason discussed areas of potential research collaboration which will serve to strengthen the relationship between NUFE and Exeter’s Business School in the future.

Sir Steve and Professor Chen Jining, President of Tsinghua University, met to discuss extending opportunities for joint research and exchanges for staff and students.  At Peking University, Sir Steve was hosted by the Provost & Vice-President, Professor Gao Song, and the next stages of collaborative work, particularly in the area of Humanities, were agreed.  In Shanghai, President Yang of Fudan University discussed with Sir Steve, his view of international collaboration and how the growing Exeter-Fudan relationship is of great benefit to both institutions.

Alongside Sir Steve; Professor Neil Armstrong, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, and Dr Claire Baines, Chief Operating Officer, attended the Presidential meetings, discussed the potential for exchanges of staff from Professional Services at Fudan University, and assisted the Vice-Chancellor in fielding questions from seven different media outlets, including China Radio International and the Shanghai Morning Post.

Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor commented: “It is incredibly important for a leading university like Exeter to forge international research partnerships in order to tackle the world’s most pressing problems.  Collaborating in the Humanities is not something that many UK and Chinese universities are doing, yet it will reap enormous dividends for Exeter and its partners as the most highly cited research becomes ever more internationalised".

Sir Steve also hosted two large alumni events in Beijing and Shanghai which attracted 300 Exeter graduates to relive their experiences at Exeter and to celebrate Exeter becoming both a UK Top-10 and a World Top-150 institution.

While in Beijing, Sir Steve was interviewed by People in the Know, China Radio International's flagship news programme.  The interview was broadcast on 20 November and can be listened to online. 



Date: 21 November 2013

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