“I was slightly disappointed that in the speech of the Dutchambassador to China Xi’anJiaotong University was not mentioned”. He Changzhong (thedeputy director of the university’s department of internationalcooperation) says it with a smile, but he is seriousnevertheless.
At the energetic Sino-Dutch Higher Education Forum, hosted byNUFFIC, He Changzhong explains why Xi’an should not beoverlooked. “Xi’an is the cradle of Chinese civilization andculturally the gateway to the real China. Some people describe NewYork city as the world’s crossroads; Xi’an has the same functionfor China.”
China in space
Jiaotong University is the second oldest university of China,dating back to 1896. Jiaotong was a founding member of China’s IvyLeague, the so-called ‘C9′: China’s nine most prestigiousinstitutions of higher education. “One third of all aerospaceresearch is done here: We actually contributed to the recent
It’s He Changzhong’s first trip to The Netherlands and he israther impressed by the environmental protection he sees around himand the Dutch dedication to make the country one of the leadingcountries in the world.
Jiaotong University is highly interested in the match makingprogramme offered by NUFFIC and its Chinese counterpart CEAI,although it has already developed many ties with Europeancounterparts. “We have joined several Erasmus Mundus programmes andare cooperating with the University of Gent, among others”, HeChangzhong explains.
Great plans for Xi’an
The vision for Jiaotong University can be traced back to thegovernment plans for Xi’an: the city should develop into an’international metropolis’, and higher education plays an importantpart. “Our university already has some 1.700 international studentson our campuses.” On a total of 30.000 students, that percentage isstill relatively low.
That explains why the university has employed He Changzhong, aformer Chinese diplomat to the US, to become the ‘universityambassador’. “I rather talk to you than have lunch. Besides I’m ona diet”, He Changzhong concludes with a smile.
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