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Cardiff’s China links praised at Westminster

12 February 2009

Flag of the People's Republic of China

Cardiff University’s links with Xiamen University in China have been praised by an influential parliamentary committee as a successful example of co-operation in the global marketplace.

The House of Commons’ Welsh Affairs Committee has just reported on Globalisation and its impact on Wales. Over the past two years the Committee has examined the effects of global trade on a variety of economic sectors in Wales, including employment and skills, broadcasting, food supply and production.

The report stressed the role of universities, as drivers of the knowledge economy, which is key to success in the global marketplace.

The Chairman of the Committee, Hywel Francis MP, said: "The Committee saw first hand how universities can develop global partnerships when we visited Xiamen University in southern China, which is twinned with Cardiff University. Both institutions, working together, are maximising the opportunities presented by globalisation and providing a successful model for others to follow."

Links with Xiamen University have been forged over a number of years and through high-level visits led by the Cardiff University Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Grant. Cardiff's School of City and Regional Planning runs a joint Masters programme with Xiamen and has advised the Chinese institution on the creation of its own School in this field – vital to the Chinese economy as it continues to expand. For the past two years, Cardiff University and the City Council have offered two £2000 scholarships for postgraduate students from Xiamen to come to Wales to study.

Together, the two Universities have launched the Cardiff Confucius Institute, at Cardiff’s Centre for Lifelong Learning. The Institute has just marked the end of a successful first year, offering courses in Chinese language and culture to the Welsh business community, public sector organisations and the public. Cardiff also has agreements with a number of other leading Chinese Universities for joint research in cancer, sustainable development and control of water pollution.

The Welsh Affairs Committee also highlighted the role of higher education in improving the skills base to allow Wales to compete fully in the global economy. The MPs said it is imperative that the UK and Welsh Assembly Governments fully integrate the commercial potential of higher education into their policies.

Cardiff University’s international collaboration extends across the globe with many long-standing partners in research and teaching. In the United States, Cardiff has a number of joint projects with the National Institutes of Health, one of the world’s foremost medical research centres and has just signed an agreement with the American Ivy League’s prestigious University of Pennsylvania on the training of journalists. Other international collaborations include with engineers at the University of Kuala Lumpur and architects at the British University in Dubai. There are more than 2,700 international students currently studying at Cardiff, some 608 of them from China, with more than 1,000 of them studying at Cardiff Business School.

"Cardiff University has partnerships in many countries and these partnerships result in many benefits to Wales. This extends beyond joint research projects and includes teaching, and community based collaborations," said University Vice-Chancellor Dr David Grant. "It is pleasing to see our work acknowledged in this way by the Welsh Affairs Committee."