Wuhan University (China) WHU holds internationalization conference, aiming at world-class standards

On the afternoon of September 22, a conference to promote internationalization at Wuhan University was held. Han Jin, secretary of the university CPC committee, and Dou Xiankang, president of WHU, both delivered speeches. Deputy Secretary Huang Taiyan presided over the conference. Tang Qizhu, vice president of WHU, gave a report during the conference. Duke Kunshan University Chancellor Feng Youmei, Vice Chancellor Chang Xiaolin, Senior Advisor for External Relations Li Hui and other faculty leaders from DKU attended the conference online. Directors of relevant departments, schools, research institutes and teams of WHU were present.

In his speech, Dou Xiankang emphasized the importance of education openness. He affirmed WHU’s achievements in international exchange and cooperation as well as the successful construction and rapid development of DKU.

Dou pointed out that WHU has an excellent tradition of opening up education. In recent years, key developments in the internationalization of education pursued by the university have been the recruitment and cultivation of international talents and the pursuit of high-level international cooperation projects, resulting in remarkable achievement.

Dou put forward three requirements for future work in education internalization at WHU. The first is to prioritize the cultivation of talents with stronger global competitiveness, actively draw on the world’s advanced higher education concepts and experiences, vigorously introduce the world’s high quality educational resources, continue to promote in-depth cooperation with world-class universities, and continuously improve the international competitiveness of students. Secondly, WHU needs to intensify the introduction of first-class scientists, discipline leaders and innovation teams that are active on the international academic frontier and meet the major strategic needs of the country, strengthen the leading role of high-quality talents in promoting international development, and stimulate the enthusiasm of teachers to carry out international cooperation and exchange. The third is to build a high-quality management team. The management staff should establish the concept of internalization of higher education, improve the level of international communication, cross-cultural understanding and the ability to deal with international affairs, and effectively improve the overall international management and service level of the university.

After that, Vice President Tang Qizhu delivered a keynote report. He firstly reviewed the achievements of the university in the construction of the international talent team, international scientific research cooperation, international talent cultivation, international students education, and people exchanges between China and foreign countries in the past six years. Since the launch of the 13th Five-Year Plan, the construction of the international talent team of Wuhan University has reached a new height. International exchanges actively adhere to the strategy of strengthening the university through talents. The Office of International Affairs of WHU cooperates with relevant departments and schools on talent recruitment, talent cultivation and talent service, taking full advantage of international talent resources. New breakthroughs have been achieved in high-quality international scientific research cooperation. A large number of platforms for international research cooperation have been established, including the WHU-Duke Research Institute and the WHU-UChicago Joint Research Center for Social Geographic Computing, and a large number of international cooperation journal papers have been published. The quality of international talent cultivation has reached a new level. The Third Semester English and International Course Weekand the Pilot Class for Global Governance and International Organizations Talents initiated by Wuhan University have reaped good results. The cooperation with the University of Chicago in medical education has been ongoing for 15 years, becoming a model of medical education reform in China. The construction of Duke Kunshan University has been listed in the Development Plan for the Yangtze River Delta Region, striving to become a model area for international education cooperation. New progress has been made in serving the Belt and Road Initiative. Wuhan University has held three China-France-Africa Trilateral Higher Education Forums, established multiple Sino-foreign joint research platforms by cooperating with countries along the Belt and Road, and carried out talent training courses to cultivate professionals for countries along the Belt and Road. The education for international students in China has taken on a new trend. The university has launched 41 full English programs covering 79 majors. The influence of classic student activities such as the Luojia Gold-Autumn International Culture Festival and the doctoral forum Wise Luojia have been on the increase. New chapters have been written in cultural exchanges with other countries. WHU has hosted a number of high-level public diplomacy platform meetings and participated actively in the China-UK Higher Education Humanities Alliance. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wuhan University has conveyed heartfelt sympathy to its sister schools, donated medical protective equipment, organized nearly 60 video conferences on anti-epidemic international cooperation and donated resources to more than 40 countries and regions.

Then, Tang Qizhu set out the key tasks for the next phase. Tang pointed out that theinternationalization work pattern should be established within the university with the full participation of schools, departments, colleges, teachers and students. At the same time, we should expand the fields of exchange and cooperation, enhance the level of international education, advance substantive cooperation with world-class universities such as Duke University, Harvard University and University of Chicago on a priority basis, and constantly optimize the international cooperation network. We should accelerate the implementation of the ‘going global’ strategy on dominant disciplines and increase the efforts to bring in first-class resources.

At the conference, ten schools and institutes of Wuhan University were awarded for their excellent achievements in promoting WHU’s internationalization.

Yang Xiaoguang (party secretary of the State Key Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing), Prof. Lu Wei (dean of the School of Information Management), Prof. Zhu Renshan (State Key Laboratory of Hybrid Rice) and Prof. Xiao Xuan (vice president of Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University) gave talks on their school’s accomplishments and experiences in internationalization in the field of academic exchanges, talent cultivation and scientific research cooperation.

In his concluding speech, Secretary Han Jin said that the purpose of this conference was to further promote the opening-up of WHU to the outside world to achieve new results.

Secretary Han put forward three requirements for future internationalization. The first requirement is to build WHU into a world-class university through the opening up of education. The university should unswervingly accelerate education opening-up, promote international cooperation, sino-foreign cooperative education and other related work. Second, the opening-up in the new era must have new patterns, requirements, and contents. We must insist on high-quality standards, student-centered ideas and strategic thinking on the internationalization of the teaching team, using international standards to consider current shortcomings and problems in work. Third, the process of internationalization needs to begin with daily routines. Our work should be based on the actual needs of each school, and we should continue to attach importance to international exchanges and talent recruitment.

Finally, Secretary Han expressed his hopes for all schools, institutes and administrative offices of WHU to put joint efforts into the acceleration of the internationalization of the university with practical work and stronger commitment, and to promote the construction of the ‘double world-class project’, with a stronger sense of responsibility and the deployment of more accurate measures.