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Delegation Led by Yu Jianxing, Chairman of University Council Visited the UK, Belgium and the UAE

Between November 22nd and December 1st, a delegation led by Yu Jianxing, Chairman of University Council, embarked on a visit to the UK, Belgium, and the UAE. During their trip, the delegation paid visits to the University of Sussex, the University of Leeds, Howest University of Applied Sciences, the University of Sharjah, and the Sharjah Institute for Heritage. Notably, they finalized a new set of inter-school cooperation agreements, organized a briefing session for talent recruitment, and further expanded and deepened educational exchanges and practical collaboration with globally renowned universities.


During their visit to the University of Sussex in the UK, the delegation engaged in in-depth discussions with President Sasha Roseneil, Vice President Robin Banerjee and Steven McGuire. After a review of their collaborative achievements since 2020, they expressed their shared commitment to further enhancing research cooperation in the field of artificial intelligence, with the aim of establishing a model for Sino-British university collaboration. President Sasha Roseneil provided an overview of the recent progress of the University in internationalization and expressed appreciation for the fruitful cooperation between the two universities in talent training of AI discipline. She recommended that both sides continue to develop disciplines with obvious advantages and foster people-to-people exchanges among young individuals. Yu Jianxing emphasized the significance that ZJSU places on the cooperation project of talent training with the University of Sussex. He eagerly anticipated promoting academic exchanges between the two universities in the new context by expanding and deepening their collaboration. Furthermore, he expressed a strong desire to actively contribute to enhancing Sino-British friendship. Following the meeting, Yu Jianxing held a conversation with 13 postgraduate students who graduated from the Sussex Artificial Intelligence Institute of ZJSU and are now pursuing doctoral degrees at the University of Sussex. He encouraged the students to aspire to greater heights, encouraging them with a commitment to “being, knowing, doing” while integrating knowledge acquisition with societal service.


The delegation also received thematic reports from six department heads at the University of Sussex, covering topics such as Academic Quality and Partnership, Management Structure of the University of Sussex, Postgraduate Management at the University of Sussex, Research at the University of Sussex, Media, and Risk Preference and Risk Tolerance. After listening to these reports, Yu Jianxing delivered a speech highlighting the achievements and experiences in teaching management and discipline development between the University of Sussex and ZJSU. He also discussed the pressing need for diverse talents in such a developing society, and the challenges and opportunities involved in Sino-foreign school-running cooperation and discipline development. Yu emphasized that over the past three years, Sussex Artificial Intelligence Institute of ZJSU, as the first Sino-foreign cooperative school of AI in China, has been dedicated to becoming an internationally recognized hub for training AI talent, fostering collaboration among AI experts, driving the AI industry ahead, serving as a model of Sino-British educational cooperation, and facilitating cultural exchange. He highlighted the significant progress made and the joint educational strength demonstrated by both universities. He expressed his hope for further deepening the cooperative relationship between the two universities and achieving even greater outcomes.


During their visit to the University of Leeds in the UK, the delegation attended a meeting with Acting Vice-Chancellor Yu Haisui and representatives of professors. Yu acknowledged the similarities between the two universities in terms of comprehensive education, research focus, and internationalization. The cooperative achievements of the two universities since 2016 include a collaborative laboratory for food and oral processing, and International University Consortium of Food Science and Nutrition in partnership with universities like Massey University in New Zealand and Wageningen University in the Netherlands. These collaborations have significantly contributed to the development of food science as a discipline at the forefront of international academia. Acting Vice-Chancellor Yu Haisui expressed that the University of Leeds has consistently maintained a leading position in terms of academic reputation, which is closely tied to its longstanding commitment to international development and training global talents. He expressed his enthusiasm for further cooperation with ZJSU, emphasizing the mutual benefits for faculty and students. Both parties signed a cooperative agreement for the “3+1+1” joint training program in the field of food, and they reached a consensus on signing a new round of cooperation agreements and expanding collaboration to include joint training initiatives. During the visit, Yu also toured various facilities at the University of Leeds, including the library and innovation center, and conducted surveys on the “Nexus” incubator for research commercialization.


During their visit to Howest University of Applied Sciences in Belgium, the delegation attended a meeting with the Chairman of the Board, Lode De Geyter. The meeting was joined by Philip Vanhaelemeersch, the Director of the Confucius Institute in Belgium, Chen Peiliang, the Director of the CI in China, and Li Hui, Education Counselor from the Chinese Embassy in the Kingdom of Belgium. They reviewed the accomplishments of their collaborative efforts and engaged in discussions regarding the significance of cross-border cooperation in addressing global challenges. Notably, the Confucius Institute, jointly established by ZJSU and Howest University of Applied Sciences in 2012, has now become the largest Chinese language training center in Belgium. The delegation also made a special visit to meet the teachers working at the CI, expressing their admiration and support for their dedicated work.

During the afternoon of that day, the 10th Board Meeting of the Confucius Institute took place at the residence of the Governor of West Flanders Province, with the delegation in attendance. The meeting involved a presentation by Director Philip, who reported on the accomplishments of the Confucius Institute in 2023 and presented the work plan for 2024. The participants highly commended the collaborative efforts between the two universities and acknowledged the achievements of the Confucius Institute. They also put forth new requirements and expressed their sincere expectations for the further development of the CI. In his address, Yu Jianxing conducted a comprehensive analysis, addressing the challenges and issues raised by Director Philip VANHAELEMEERSCH and extending congratulations to the Confucius Institute for its achievements. He emphasized the importance of cultural promotion and expressed his desire for the Confucius Institute to present an authentic representation of China to the Belgian people, showcasing the country’s rich historical traditions and modern innovative spirit.

Following that, Yu Jianxing received an invitation to attend a reception at the official residence of Carl Decaluwé, the Governor of West Flanders Province. Also in attendance were Frederik D’hulster, the President of Howest University of Applied Sciences, and S. Lode De Geyter, the Chairman of the Board. Both parties engaged in discussions regarding the development prospects of the Confucius Institute, and they reached an agreement for further cooperation. Governor Carl Decaluwé expressed a strong desire for the Confucius Institute to strengthen Chinese language teaching and promote Chinese culture, thus advancing research in international business. He emphasized the significance of training business and trade professionals with cross-cultural repertoire and the ability to meet the demands of the new era.

During their visit to the University of Sharjah, the delegation received a warm welcome from Vice President Yousef Haik. After friendly discussions, where both universities reflected on their six-year history of cooperation, Yu acknowledged the strong foundation and fruitful outcomes of the collaboration between ZJSU and the University of Sharjah. He expressed his hopes for deeper cooperation between the two universities, aiming to pioneer education and scientific research for peaceful development. This would contribute to new achievements in the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative. Yousef emphasized the significance of the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative as a crucial measure for mutual benefit and common development, particularly for Arab countries, full of expectations for development. He acknowledged the importance of further strengthening cooperation with ZJSU in areas such as education and scientific research, which would bring about more opportunities and challenges. Following that, extensive discussions were held on the establishment and operation of the “Sharjah Silk Road School of Zhejiang Gongshang University”. The aim was to enhance collaboration between the two universities through the college, with a focus on skills training, talent training, country-specific research, policy consultation, and educational and cultural exchanges. Through their collaboration, the two universities seek to contribute wisdom and strength to deepen people-to-people exchanges between China and the Arab world, as well as foster friendship between the people of both countries. As part of the visit, the delegation also made a special effort to meet with students from ZJSU who were studying abroad at the University of Sharjah.

In the afternoon, at the Sharjah Institute for Heritage in the UAE, Secretary Yu Jianxing had a cordial meeting with Ahmed Al-Bayrak, the Director of the External Relations Department. They reached an agreement to collaborate on the establishment of smart classrooms and faculty exchange programs. Additionally, they discussed the further development and construction of the ZJSU UAE-China Cultural Exchange Center. They aimed to deepen exchanges and cooperation in cultural exchange, language training, and business collaboration, thus making new contributions to international educational cooperation and cultural exchanges. During the visit, the delegation also had the opportunity to visit the ZJSU UAE-China Cultural Exchange Center.

This visit played a significant role in enhancing understanding and communication between ZJSU and renowned universities and research institutions in the UK, Belgium, and the UAE. It resulted in stronger and closer connections among them. Representatives from various departments, including the Publicity Office, Human Resources Office, International Office, Sussex Artificial Intelligence Institute, School of Oriental Languages and Philosophy, and others, actively participated in the visit.