Nottingham trains China's future leaders

02 Nov 2010 16:45:00.000

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A delegation of 20 Chinese high fliers has completed a special three-month Chevening Young Leaders Training Programme based at The University of Nottingham. It was the first Chevening Fellowship programme for a group from a single country, signifying a more strategic approach by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Organised by the China Policy Institute at the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies on behalf of the FCO and the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF), this course was tailor-made for leaders of the future selected by the Communist Youth League in Beijing.

The three-month programme covered the economics of climate change, government relations with civil society and reform, regulation, and public service provision — areas of expertise in which the UK is keen to collaborate with China.

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The Communist Youth League, the original power base of Chinese President Hu Jintao, grooms high-calibre officials to take on senior political posts later in their careers, as well as organising youth activities throughout China. It manages its external relations through the ACYF.

Nottingham Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof Bob Webb said the programme was unusual not only because it was delivered bilingually in English and Chinese, but also because it had integrated theory with practical briefings and some 25 field visits to different UK organisations in government, civil society and the private sector to provide the 20 Chevening Fellows with a solid understanding of the UK.

“How you make use of this knowledge is entirely up to you,” he said in a closing speech to the delegates. “China should and will find its own way forward. But hopefully some of the experiences we have shared with you will be of help to China in the future.”

Delegation leader Ms Wang Lei, who is Chief Secretary of the Communist Youth League in Shandong province — home to 92 million people — said the programme had strengthened exchanges between the young people of China and the UK, and between youth leaders and policy-makers on both sides.

Speaking for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Charlotte Wills said the programme was an important new initiative in China-UK relations, and was the result of many months of preparation. It signified a strategic approach by the FCO to target the Chevening programme more closely to priorities.

She thanked the three corporate sponsors — the British companies BP and Tesco, and Hutchison Whampoa of Hong Kong — for their generous contributions towards funding the programme.

The programme began on July 5 at The University of Nottingham’s campus in China, at Ningbo south of Shanghai, with a one-week course on the social and political history of the United Kingdom. This was followed by visits to the UK Pavilion at Shanghai World Expo 2010 and other British exhibits there, including the University’s Shanghai Expo presence.

They also attended a Nottingham University Energy Summer School in Nanjing and took part in an energy conference organised by the University at the Expo, before flying to the UK in mid-July.

The group was briefed on local government structure and policy issues by Nottingham City Council, and on regional economic development by the East Midlands Development Agency (emda). During a one-week visit to London, the group visited the Houses of Parliament and attended briefings at the Cabinet Office and the FCO, as well as civil society organisations including The Prince’sTrust.

While in the UK they visited Eton College and the Nottingham University Samworth Academy school, a rubbish incinerator generating combined heat and power, and the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham — one of Europe’s largest teaching hospitals — where they visited a mental health unit and a children’s ward.

The Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Councillor Brian Grocock, presented the group with their graduation certificates at a reception at the University at which each Fellow presented a personal project.

The delegation included four vice-presidents of provincial Youth Federations, four presidents of youth federations of major Chinese cities, three division directors of central government or Communist Party organisations, a senior Chinese Trade Union official, two academics, three senior representatives of major Chinese businesses, and a leading radio journalist.

Action plans drawn up by the Chevening Fellows during the programme included projects to increase volunteering in Beijing and to enhance the role of youth organisations and companies in low-carbon environmental initiatives.

— Ends —

More information
is available from Dr Zhengxu Wang, Acting Director of the China Policy Institute, at, +44(0)115 82 32117; or Richard Pascoe, Programme Manager for Chevening and former Director of the China Policy Institute, at

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Times as “the nearest Britain has to a truly global university”, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK’s Top Ten and the World’s Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 39,000 students, producing world-leading research helping the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.

The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

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Story credits

More information is available from Dr Zhengxu Wang, Acting Director of the China Policy Institute, at, +44(0)115 82 32117; or Richard Pascoe, Programme Manager for Chevening and former Director of the China Policy Institute, at
Simon Butt

Simon Butt - Stakeholder Relations and Campaign Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 84 67156 Location: University Park

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