The University of Nottingham is celebrating a week of global partnerships honouring high profile guests from around the world.
An unprecedented number of international delegations will be held both on the University’s campuses in Nottingham and in London this week.
Connections with China have started with a visit from Mme Xu Yafen, Chair of the Zhejiang Wanli Education Group (WEG), and His Excellency Liu Xiaoming, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China.
There will also be celebrations of the University’s partnerships with Brazil, visits to a local school, Global talent events in London and a Nottingham-China celebration to mark 10 years of the Nottingham Confucius Institute.
On Monday the Amenities building on the University’s Jubilee campus was named in honour of Mme Xu Yafen.
Mme Xu sits on the management board at the University of Nottingham Ningbo (UNNC) and played a pivotal role in its creation. She became a party member of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1981 and is a representative of the eleventh CPC Congress of Zhejiang Province and a member of Zhejiang CPPCC Committee. She is cited as one of China’s Outstanding Women.
She founded the Wanli Education Group, which partners UNNC and has a national reputation for academic excellence.
She said: “I am very appreciative of his noble honour. Wanli Education Group was honoured to cooperate with the University of Nottingham in founding China’s first independent Sino-foreign university — the University of Nottingham Ningbo China. This university has been recorded as one of the 60 greatest events in China’s history of education. I believe that with our joint efforts the University of Nottingham Ningbo will continue to be the beautiful British rose in glorious bloom in China.
“The University of Nottingham Ningbo has become the bridge of friendship between China and the UK. Liu Yandong, deputy prime minister, during her visit to UNNC said that cooperation is based on communication. The University of Nottingham Ningbo strengthens this communication and friendship between governments, its people and our two countries.”
Liu Xiaoming’s links with the University of Nottingham began soon after he became Ambassador.
In 2010, he made his first visit to Nottingham City and to the University of Nottingham. Accompanied by the Vice-Chancellor, he visited the Confucius Institute and met with key staff members. In the Sir Colin Campbell Building, he later gave a speech to a formal audience of the University on China’s Role in Global Economic Growth. In addition, he emphasised the role of language and culture in fostering mutual understanding and friendship. This partnership has flourished in the years that followed.
While visiting Nottingham this week His Excellency took the opportunity to visit the Dinosaurs of China exhibition hosted at Nottingham Lakeside Arts and Wollaton Hall.
The exhibition, made possible through the connections of Dr Wang Xi and a partnership between Nottingham City Council and the University of Nottingham, features fossils and specimens never seen outside of Asia and brings to life the story of how dinosaurs evolved into the birds that live alongside us today.
The ambassador’s commitment to education was also recognised in an honorary degree ceremony where he was made a Doctor of Laws.
At the ceremony held on Wednesday 6 September in the Great Hall, Professor Kevin Lee, Head of the School of Economics, gave the oration and cited Liu Xiaoming as one of the world’s greatest diplomats.
He said: Vice-Chancellor, we have with us today one of our world’s great diplomats, a leader who has done so much to create harmony in Sino-UK relationships, and in the process supported our University in its endeavours to contribute to education in China; to you and to the whole congregation I present His Excellency LIU Xiaoming as eminently worthy to receive the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.”
In return the ambassador said he was; “deeply moved” to be given the honour adding it was a recognition of the ongoing work of the Chinese Government.
He said: “Education is the highlight of Sino-UK golden era relations, and Nottingham is the leader of the education exchange between China and the UK.”