Prime Minister David Cameron visited the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus as part of an official two-day trip reinforcing long-standing links between Malaysia and the UK.
He was joined by the Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in a visit that served to emphasise the strength of ties beween the two countries.
Both Prime Ministers attended a meeting of the Global Movement of Moderates held on campus, followed by a Q&A session on global politics including around 100 University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) students.
In his speech, David Cameron expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Najib, who was instrumental in developing the UNMC campus in his previous capacity as Education Minister of Malaysia. He said: “Thank you for inviting me to join you today and thank you for speaking about our shared interests, our shared values, our shared history.
“It is great we are able to do this at the Nottingham University Campus in Malaysia, the first full campus of a British University overseas. A really pioneering partnership that sees the full breadth of the academic study and research here in Malaysia.
“It represents the best of British, the best of Malaysia, and I am very pleased to be here today. I know, Prime Minister, that developing this campus has long been an urge of yours when you were Education Minister, so we are grateful to you, Prime Minister Najib, for your vision and support over many years in helping to bring this about.”
I am proud to be here at the first British overseas campus, and it is strange to mention The University of Nottingham in this heat,” he added.
Prime Minister Najib said: “I am really delighted that Prime Minister David Cameron has decided to visit Malaysia, and particularly to Nottingham Campus. It is of course my Alma Mater.”
The Prime Minister toured UNMC’s 125-acre parkland campus and heard about the pioneering role it plays as a powerful symbol of successful educational collaboration between the two nations.
Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, said: “The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus is a genuine UK-Malaysia partnership. To have the Prime Ministers from both countries at the campus is a great honour, but also symbolically very powerful.
“It is now 12 years since UNMC was established, during which time it has helped pioneer the globalisation of higher education. We are perfectly placed to meet the future challenges set out in the MoU signed during this visit.”
The University of Nottingham made history in the year 2000, building on a strong and longstanding relationship with Malaysia to open the first full overseas campus of a UK university.
Today, UNMC is one of the biggest success stories in global higher education, with more than 4,000 students from 75 countries on a purpose-built site near Kuala Lumpur. UNMC students study in English, for University of Nottingham degrees that are taught and assessed in the same way as those at Nottingham UK.
During the Global Movement of Moderates meeting, Prime Minister Najib and David Cameron spoke about moderate Islam and how fundamentalism bears no reflection on the true values of Islam and that it should not be tolerated. The Q&A session at the end included UNMC students, where David Cameron and Najib answered questions on, among others, the political situation in Burma, Iran, Palestine and Israel.
Thursday’s visit also saw the signing of a UK-Malaysia Joint Statement on Higher Education and Skills at UNMC by the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science, and Malaysia’s Minister for Higher Education Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
Both parties pledged to continue to support emerging partnership in the context of the memorandum of understanding, and to consider additional areas of collaboration in higher education, research and innovation; announcement of a new scholarship scheme; policy and reform challenges; leadership; further education and skills development; and monitoring partners in education.
The signing was followed by a round table meeting between key heads of universities in the UK and Malaysia. The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus was represented by Provost and Chief Executive Officer Professor Ian Pashby and Professor Graham Kendall, Vice Provost (Research and Knowledge Transfer).
David Cameron’s visit to UNMC was part of the first official visit to Malaysia by a British Prime Minister in almost 20 years. It follows a visit by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to Britain in July 2011.
The University of Nottingham UK enjoys strong ties with Malaysia, and has one of the largest communities of Malaysian students of any UK university. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is himself a Nottingham alumnus, graduating in Industrial Economics in 1974.
Professor Ian Pashby, Provost and Chief Executive Officer at UNMC, said: “Today is a milestone for us, as we host two Prime Ministers on our campus for a significant global agenda in higher education. Bilateral relations between UK and Malaysia are of great significance to the continued growth of UNMC, as it is both a UK and a Malaysian university.”
UNMC’s 125-acre parkland campus near Kuala Lumpur takes its design cues from University Park in Nottingham – with a signature lakeside building that echoes the UK’s Trent Building.
The University’s campuses in Asia – it also has a campus at Ningbo in China – and its ambitious internationalisation strategy prompted The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 to describe Nottingham as “the embodiment of the modern international university”.
UNMC now provides foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate courses in: applied psychology, biosciences, business & management, computer science & information technology, economics, education, engineering, international communications, law, modern languages, pharmacy, politics, history and international relations, and psychology.
Plans for the next decade focus on building and strengthening its world-class research portfolio. Current leading research projects include the AAR/UNMC Biotechnology Research Centre, the Crops for the Future Research Centre, the Sahz Nano Supercapacitator Pilot Plant, and the Leverhulme Centre for Research on Globalisation.
PICTURES of the visit are available from The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, firstname.lastname@example.org, or the UK press contacts below.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 40,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘the world’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2011.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.
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