Madame Liu Yandong, State Councillor of the People’s Republic of China and Member of its Political Bureau, visited The University of Nottingham on November 20 2008 to open an international conference on campus and to promote Sino-UK co-operation.
Madame Liu – heading the most senior Chinese government delegation to visit the UK this year – was greeted by the University’s Chancellor, Professor Yang Fujia, and Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Greenaway.
Opening a conference organised by the University’s School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, Madame Liu made a speech outlining the progress that China has made over the last 30 years and of her hopes for growing China-UK collaboration in the future.
As a State Councillor, Madame Liu is one of the highest-ranking members of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and her visit to Nottingham reflects the University’s strong links with China. The University became the first foreign higher education institution in the world to open its doors in China when The University of Nottingham Ningbo accepted its first students in 2005.
Madame Liu said: “It is a great pleasure for us to come to the University of Nottingham, which has set up excellent collaborative links with China’s educational sector in the process of its globalisation.
“The main purpose of my visit to the UK is to learn more about the development of education, science and technology in this country, and to expand our collaborations with the UK in this area. China-UK collaboration enjoys a solid foundation and – I am sure – has an even more promising future. I look forward to The University of Nottingham playing an even larger role in promoting educational co-operation between our two countries.”
Professor Yang Fujia, Chancellor of the University of Nottingham, made the formal welcome to Madame Liu before she opened the inaugural conference of the International Forum for Contemporary Chinese Studies. Organised by the University’s School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, this year’s event was entitled: ‘Post-Olympic China: Globalisation and Sustainable Development after Three Decades of Reform.’
Madame Liu said: “Twenty-five years ago I came to the UK for the first time as head of a youth delegation from China. Although years have past since then, the friendship of the British young people toward the Chinese young people has stayed with me as a lasting memory. Coming back to the UK after 25 years I felt for myself how the understanding and friendship between our two peoples has grown.
“We hope and we are confident that the University of Nottingham will achieve greater success in developing co-operation with its Chinese partners and this will set a good example of collaborative education between our two countries.”
Madame Liu thanked the UK for the help it provided following the recent devastating earthquake in Sichuan province. She also spoke of her country’s pride in the great strides that China has made – in trade, social welfare, urban growth, education, life expectancy and many other areas – in the three decades since the beginning of widespread reforms and the ‘opening up’ of the People’s Republic.
"Under a complicated and volatile international situation," Madame Liu said, "China and the UK are faced with more and more common challenges. Our common interests and co-operation opportunities opportunities are also increasing.
“In the long history of human development, people of countries across the world have never before found their destinies so closely linked and their cultures so mutually enriching. I feel deeply that a vibrant China-UK relationship and a strong, comprehensive strategic partnership will benefit our peoples, and will also benefit world peace and human progress.
“I wish the people of China and the people of the UK harmony, happiness and lasting friendship.”
Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor, said: “It is an honour and a privilege to have Madame Liu Yandong and her distinguished delegation visiting our University today.
“Inaugural events are always special – but this event will be especially memorable because of Madame Liu Yandong’s presence. It is a very auspicious beginning for a new forum.
“We have a very long and special relationship with China and its people. Here at Nottingham we have 1,500 Chinese students, who bring their culture to this city and enrich our culture. In China we are partners in The University of Nottingham Ningbo China, which was the first Sino-UK partnership awarded a licence to form a university by the People’s Republic of China.
“We take great pride in that but we also understand that it brings with it a responsibility to contribute to the development of higher education in China in a meaningful way, and to contribute to the social development of our host city Ningbo, and our host province Zhejiang.”
Professor Greenaway said “very significant progress” had been made at The University of Nottingham Ningbo, China, which now has 3700 students from 50 countries and a fast-growing research base.
A new scholarship fund for University of Nottingham students has been set up to commemorate Madame Liu’s visit.
Madame Liu’s delegation of more than 40 people included Professor Zhou Ji, Minister of Education, Mr Li Xueyong, Vice-Minister at the Ministry of Science and Technology, and Mr Xiang Zhaolun, Vice-Minister, General Office of the State Council.
The visiting delegation was also taken to see the Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre at University Park, where they had a tour of the facilities including the 7-Tesla magnet, one of the most powerful of its kind in Europe.
— Ends —
PICTURED above are (l-r): Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor, University of Nottingham; Madame Liu Yandong, State Councillor, People's Republic of China; Professor Yang Fujia, Chancellor, University of Nottingham.
Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation – School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.