Tsinghua and Oxford becoming schoolmates

14:21, April 23, 2011      

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Tsinghua University is poised to build a closer relationship with the prestigious University of Oxford.

According to an agreement signed on Friday, the universities will conduct academic research projects and facilitate exchanges of faculty and students in the next five years.

The two universities will also co-host seminars and workshops, making academic materials and publications more accessible to faculties and students at the two universities.

Founded in 1167, Oxford is one of the world's oldest and most prestigious universities.

Andrew Hamilton, vice-chancellor of Oxford, stressed that the university has made many contributions to communication between the United Kingdom and China, such as offering short-term training programs to about 3,000 senior Chinese government officials in recent years.

Hamilton made the remarks when attending a ceremony on Friday, where he received an honorary doctorate from Gu Binglin, president of Tsinghua University.

In a lecture after the ceremony, he talked about the benefits of globalization for higher education and shared Oxford's experience as a world-class international university.

"The exchange of faculties and students can create great ideas," he said, citing the many world-changing discoveries made at Oxford by people from different parts of the world.

However, he also stressed that globalization for centuries-old universities does not mean doing something fundamentally new or different.

For example, many Western universities are rushing to set up new campuses overseas, while Oxford has not announced any new campuses, as globalization should focus more on the core functions of education: generating knowledge, educating students and making contribution to social welfare.

"China has pushed its universities to be more internationalized," he said, saying that Tsinghua has attracted overseas talent to pursue careers, such as Qian Yingyi, dean of the School of Economics and Management and Shi Yigong, dean of Tsinghua's School of Life Sciences.

According to Hamilton, China has become increasingly important to Oxford as the campus is now home to about 750 Chinese students, about 4 percent of the student population.

"China has become the third biggest source of students following the United Kingdom and United States," he said.

But Oxford will not set a quota for Chinese students, he said.

In addition, Oxford has also set up the Li and Fung Scholarships to support more Chinese students in their studies and research at the university and to send more UK students to Chinese universities.

"As a big brother, I will take great pleasure in the coming years in watching Tsinghua University grow and strengthen to become as tall and old as Oxford," said Andrew Hamilton, who congratulated Tsinghua University on its 100th birthday, which falls on Sunday.

From April 22 to 24, Tsinghua will hold the Global Summit of University Presidents to discuss strategic issues that are critical to the future development of universities and the cooperation among higher education institutions.

Source: China Daily
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