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Home >> Sci-Edu
UPDATED: 08:10, June 28, 2007
British universities launch Chinese study center
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Oxford, Bristol and Manchester Universities Wednesday launched a special research center to boost Chinese studies to ensure British higher education's competence in the field.

The launch of the British Inter-University China Center (BICC) will bring together top specialists in Chinese studies from Britain and other countries, including historians, anthropologists, economists, philosophers as well as experts in politics and international relations.

The center, a five-million-pound program (about 9.9 million U.S. dollars), will seek to expand the teaching of the Chinese language and wider Chinese studies across Britain and will also generate outreach activities to attract students.

"China is of increasing importance and the UK has some of the best institutions in Europe for Chinese Studies. This new center will help British institutions to compete with the best in the world," Dr Frank Pieke, Director of Oxford's Institute for Chinese Studies and of BICC said.

Professor Robert Bickers, co-Director of BICC and Associate Director of the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Bristol, said, "Understanding China today requires an understanding of its past, its religions, philosophy and cultures. The Center's scholars and students will lead new work in these fields, and will also deepen understanding of the 250-year history of British relations with China."

An inaugural conference will be held in London and Oxford from Wednesday to Friday, to look at China's role as the world's workshop and its future impact on international relations and the environment. The conference will also review recent developments in Chinese history and how to develop Chinese language teaching in Britain.

The new center is also developing a Virtual Learning and Research Collaboration Environment, which will provide students and scholars with access to online studies.

The center received its five million pounds of funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

As well as director of the new center, Dr Pieke is a social anthropologist and university lecturer in the Modern Politics and Society of China, and Director of the inter-disciplinary China Center at Oxford University.

The co-Directors are Bickers, Professor of History at Bristol University, and William A Callahan, Professor of International Politics at Manchester University and Research Director of Manchester's Inter-Disciplinary Center for Chinese Studies.

Source: Xinhua

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