The Chinese Embassy hosted a reception yesterday evening to mark the 10th anniversary of the University of Nottingham, Ningbo China (UNNC).
The event, which was hosted by His Excellency, Mr Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese Ambassador to the UK, was attended by over 170 people, comprising visitors from government in China and the UK, University staff, alumni and representatives from businesses and other organisations that have worked with UNNC.
A first for China and the UK
UNNC became China’s first Sino-foreign University when it was formed in 2004 as a result of a partnership between Zhejiang Wanli Education Group (WEG) and the University of Nottingham, with the support of the Ningbo Municipal Government and Zhejiang Provincial Government.
In the ensuing ten years, UNNC’s student community has grown from 256 in 2004, to over 6,300 in 2014.
The Ningbo campus has expanded significantly in all academic disciplines and the University is planning for further growth by building a new state of the art teaching and learning complex, new student residential accommodation, and an international conference centre.
The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education found that UNNC provides students with the ‘Nottingham experience’ in China and praised the positive impact the campus has had on Ningbo City and the relationships it has formed with other universities in China.
Building new partnerships with industry
UNNC has also built a reputation for its knowledge exchange work with businesses. Innovative developments such as the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies, the Low-Carbon Manufacturing initiative, the International Doctoral Innovation Centre and the new Ningbo-Nottingham International Academy for Marine Economy and Technology (IAMET) are all enabling the University to build strong, mutually beneficial partnerships with industry.
The speakers at the event were welcomed and introduced by Professor Hai-Sui Yu, The University of Nottingham's Pro-Vice Chancellor (International).
Addressing the guests, Mr Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese Ambassador to the UK, said: “I was told that the cedar and cherry trees planted in front of University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) ten years ago have grown tall and lush, however, it is not only the trees on UNNC campus that have grown. UNNC itself has grown into a success story. In its first 10 years it has grown from a budding project to a blossoming educational success. It has done a superb job in bringing first class educational resources to China.
A beacon of cooperation between China and the UK
“But it goes even further. It matches Chinese strengths with British competitiveness and this gives UNNC a one-of-a-kind global edge. President Xi Jinping was working in Zhejiang when UNNC was established 10 years ago. He attended the launch ceremony and said: ‘UNNC has built a new model for Chinese education to engage the world’.
“Now, 10 years later, I believe we can tell President Xi with confidence that this ‘new model’ has worked well. UNNC graduates are making a growing impact in the world. UNNC has done a magnificent job on both growing trees and rearing people in its first decade. I hope in its next decade, UNNC can build on what it has achieved and continue to serve as a beacon of higher education cooperation between our two countries.”
Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, commented: "I would like to thank His Excellency, Mr Liu Xiaoming for hosting this prestigious event to mark our first decade in Ningbo. We have much to celebrate. The creation of UNNC required vision, belief and leadership; its continuing growth and maturity also requires these qualities, as well as perseverance and strong partnerships.
"It is impossible to build a great University without great people. It does not matter how great your campus is, how great your laboratories are. If you do not have great people, you cannot build a great University. We have great people; we recruit high quality students; we recruit high quality and dedicated staff; we produce great graduates.
Planning for a lifetime
"We also have great partnerships. The partnerships we have established are built on strength and by working together, I am confident that we will continue to go from strength to strength. As the old Chinese proverb says - ‘If you are planning for a year, plant rice. If you are planning for a decade, plant trees. If you are planning for a lifetime, educate the people’. At UNNC, we are planning for a lifetime.”
The Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP gave a speech about the benefits of the many links between Nottingham and Ningbo and praised the vision of the University in taking the decision to establish the campus.
The final presentation of the evening was given by Gaoyue Wang, an alumna of UNNC, who spoke about her experiences as a student and how UNNC has broadened her international perspectives and how the 'UNNC spirit' has inspired her to be a useful member of society.
The reception at the Chinese Embassy completed a busy week of celebrations for UNNC in the UK:
• Earlier in the week, the Ningbo Friendship Bridge, an iconic tram bridge connecting the University of Nottingham’s University Park Campus to the Queen’s Medical Centre, was officially named in a ceremony with the Lord Mayor of Nottingham and the Vice Mayor of Ningbo.
• Mme Xu Yafen, education reformer, Chair of Zhejiang Wanli Education Group and Board Chair of UNNC, was also awarded an Honorary Professorship by Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Greenaway. Madam Xu has played an integral role in UNNC’s development.
• Professor Yang Fujia, Chancellor Emeritus of The University of Nottingham and a key figure in the establishment of the China campus, was also honoured in a special dinner, hosted by the Vice-Chancellor at the University.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also the most popular university in the UK among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the World’s Top 75 universities by the QS World University Rankings.
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