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NZ-China Forum Reaffirms Commitment To Higher Education Relationship

Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara (UNZ) and the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE) yesterday co-hosted a successful sustainability-themed forum to reaffirm the countries’ commitment to their higher education relationship.

The ongoing development of New Zealand and China’s higher education relationship is an important strand of the countries’ overall relationship, which is this year commemorating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

The 5th China-New Zealand Higher Education Forum was the first since 2017, the series having started in 2005.

It was supported by Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao (ENZ), with New Zealand delegates hosted at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington and Chinese delegates on Zoom from Beijing. It was the first forum since 2017 and the first online.

UNZ Chief Executive Chris Whelan, who spoke at the opening of the forum, says UNZ greatly values the strong relationship it has gained with CEAIE and the valuable connections that have developed between institutions in the two countries.

As well as an opportunity to discuss sustainability in higher education, the forum lay the groundwork for renewing a cooperation agreement between UNZ and CEAIE, says Mr Whelan.

Beijing-based CEAIE is a key organisation for foreign engagement with the Chinese education system and has relationships with more than 170 other education organisations in more than 50 countries.

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“As we all know, the past two years have been hard on international education and yesterday saw us returning to a changing landscape evident by our first-ever virtual forum,” says Mr Whelan.

“However, we have seen collaboration between New Zealand and China’s education institutions continue to strengthen and deepen, which reminds us of the breadth of initiatives that contribute to our education links during a time of limited international mobility.

“Maintaining such international relationships during the pandemic has not been easy, but they have continued thanks to the solid foundations on which they are built and the commitment to them of partners on all sides.

“Now we look forward to New Zealand and China’s education connections resuming in full – and growing.”

As well as Mr Whelan, yesterday’s opening speakers included Chen Dali, Deputy Director-General of the Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges in China’s Ministry of Education; Michael Zhang, Education Counsellor at the New Zealand Embassy in Beijing; Fu Bo, Deputy Secretary-General, CEAIE; and Dr Liu Yibo, Acting Director, Department of International, CEAIE.

Discussing the topics ‘Green and Sustainable Development of Higher Education’, ‘Transforming Higher Education in China and New Zealand in the era of Digitisation’ and ‘The Sustainability of Talent Cultivation and Academic Mobility’ were speakers Professor Du Peng, Vice-President of Renmin University of China; Andrew Wilks, Director Sustainability at Te Herenga Waka; Zheng Qinghua, Executive Vice-President of Xi’an Jiaotong University; Associate Professor Tracy Bowell, Pro Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning at The University of Waikato; Associate Professor Shen Lin from the College of Foreign Languages, Guizhou University; and Associate Professor Ramesh Rayudu from Te Herenga Waka’s School of Engineering and Computer Science.

The forum was attended by representatives from both New Zealand and China’s Ministry of Education, education counsellors and university representatives from both countries, and representatives from CEAIE, UNZ and ENZ.

“Following yesterday’s success,” says Mr Whelan, “CEAIE, UNZ and our respective countries will further promote student mobility, addressing global and local challenges in sustainable development through scientific research collaboration, and exploring other collaborative opportunities.”

This media release is also available to share digitally from the Universities New Zealand website.

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