Promoting exchanges on the internationalization of higher education

Shuyee Chen

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The first ever symposium on internationalization and international collaboration in higher education in the mainland and Hong Kong was held at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) from 12 to 13 January.  

Over 90 representatives from more than 48 mainland universities and five local universities met with government officials to share their experience about this issue.  

The symposium, which was co-organized by CityU and the China Higher Education Association (CHEA), clearly demonstrates the active role CityU plays in promoting internationalization in the higher education sector. 

“The mainland has reached a crucial stage in internationalization as it begins to speed up its efforts to attract more professionals from overseas,” Professor H K Chang, University President, said during the opening ceremony.

He said the significance of the symposium could not be ignored. “This is the first time external affairs officials from 48 key state universities have come together to discuss related issues in Hong Kong, the most internationalized window of China,” he said.  

This rare opportunity would help Hong Kong and mainland universities draw on each other’s collective wisdom and help narrow the gap between the world’s leading universities and Hong Kong and mainland universities, he said. 

Professor Hao Ping, Chairman of CHEA and President of Beijing Foreign Studies University, said internationalization in higher education was inevitable because of globalization and it will help China learn from other civilizations around the world.

Thus China can develop a competitive edge which would help to improve its strengths.  

Hong Kong’s universities are relatively more developed and experienced in terms of internationalization. Many mainland universities are sending their delegates to this symposium so that they will learn from Hong Kong’s higher education,” Professor Hao said. 

Among the guests addressing the forum were Mr Yang Changju, Director of the Department of Cultural and Educational Experts, State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs; Mr Cen Jianjun, Deputy Director of the Department of International Cooperation and Exchange, Ministry of Education; Mr Chu Zhinong, Director General of the Department of Education, Science and Technology, Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong SAR; and Ms Charmaine Wong, Deputy Secretary-General of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee

Dr Zhu Guobin, Director of CityU’s External Liaison and Cooperation Office and the coordinator of the forum, said the internationalization of higher education was a global trend as well as a common challenge facing universities around the world. “Through this activity we aim at combining collective experience and wisdom to find the best way forward,” he said. 

On Day One of the symposium President Chang, CHEA’s Deputy Secretary-General Professor Cai Keyong, and the former President of Hawaii University Professor Peter Englert made keynote speeches. On Day Two participants split into three discussion groups which were moderated by representatives from the University of Hong Kong, ChineseUniversity of Hong Kong, Hong KongPolytechnicUniversity, TsinghuaUniversity, Xi’an Jiaotong University and JilinUniversity.

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