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Prestigious China Scholarship for Lincoln Student


6 June 2008

Prestigious China Scholarship for Lincoln Student

A Lincoln University PhD student has received a prestigious China Council Scholarship for Chinese students studying abroad - the first for a student in New Zealand since the award was established in 2003.

The China Government Award for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad has been awarded to Fujun Shen to support his research on the development of a sustainable tourism model for China’s rural areas.

The award was among 10 applications submitted by Chinese students studying in New Zealand universities, and was the only one put forward by the Chinese Embassy for consideration. In addition to receiving a high national honour, Fujun Shen receives US$5000 from the China Council to support his studies.

Fujun Shen studied for a bachelors degree at Henan Agricultural University, in central China, and completed a masters degree in The Netherlands.

His research at Lincoln University has re-examined the predominant framework for poverty reduction – the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) – which has been used extensively by development agencies and NGOs, mainly in agricultural settings. It has aimed to identify gaps between the SLA and tourism and to test a modified approach in rural villages where a visitor industry is only beginning to emerge.

Fujun Shen says SLA has its origins in rural development theory. “It considers the assets available in areas where income levels are low, and the need for processes and structures which support a transformation of economic activity. But it is concerned specifically with the agricultural sector, which does not have the complex social transactions, such as the relationship between host and guest, which are such a feature of tourism.”

The research includes an assessment of using a modified Sustainable Livelihoods for Tourism model in villages where tourism is new. It will also produce a set of guidelines for rural areas seeking to develop their visitor industry.
Fujun Shen’s supervisor, Dr Ken Hughey, says the research has identified some significant modifications to make SLA applicable to tourism. “Firstly, it’s provided the analysis that shows that SLA can offer a guiding framework beyond the agriculture sector. It has also pinpointed the key differences between the primary sector and tourism, in areas such as community ownership and the role of social institutions, which will allow tourism to take a modified approach.”

Dr Stefanie Rixecker, Director of the Environment, Society and Design Division, says the scholarship is an example of post-graduate students applying international best practice in developing regions. “We really value this type of exchange, and we’re delighted that Fujun Shen’s work has been honoured in this way.”

About Lincoln University

Lincoln University continues to achieve international recognition for its teaching and research activities. It is renowned for its entrepreneurship, relevance and as a catalyst for new and diverse approaches to stimulate the development and transfer of knowledge. The University fosters alliances with the users of research information both nationally and internationally and has established a number of significant alliances with other research organisations. The university is structured into four divisions: Commerce; Agriculture and Life Sciences; Environment, Society and Design; and Bioprotection and Ecology www.lincoln.ac.nz

ENDS

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