Premier Wen meets students at The University of Nottingham Ningbo, China

November 21, 2011

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao paid a surprise visit to the students and staff at The University of Nottingham Ningbo, China on 8 April.

Premier Wen decided to visit the University during a tour of Zhejiang province, and arrived a few hours after his office called ahead to let the University’s Provost and Chief Executive Officer, Professor Nick Miles, know that he would like to tour the campus.

The University of Nottingham Ningbo, China is a unique international university in China.

It was the first Sino-foreign university to open its doors in China in 2004, with the Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, Professor Yang Fujia, as its founding President. Professor Fujia, the first Chinese academic elected to such a role in a British university, originally hails from Ningbo.

The University has just under 5,000 students, recruited from China’s first division – the tier of students with the highest grades – and dozens of other countries.

All degree programmes are taught in English and students receive a British-style education and UK degrees from The University of Nottingham.

Premier Wen spent about two hours at the University, first shaking hands with students in the crowd of hundreds who gathered outside the administration building to welcome him and then moving on to chat to business students about their research projects.

China’s Premier told the students: “I am very happy to be here to see international students and Chinese students learning together and developing together. This is like an international family.”

He said of The University of Nottingham Ningbo, China: “The location is here, but the University has a world view, so students also have a global perspective. To international students, I would ask you to regard this as your home.”

Premier Wen told staff and students that Professor Yang was one of his very close friends and regularly spoke to him about education.

He took more than a dozen questions from students on a range of topics, from whether he would like a housework robot to help him with his chores when he retires to how he sees China’s role in the future.

Premier Wen replied that he did not need a robot, because he and his grandson can handle the chores. China’s priority was to handle its own problems well and not make trouble in the world, he said.

Professor Miles said: “We are hugely honoured and very proud that Premier Wen decided to take some time out of his busy schedule to come and see us. This is important acknowledgement for us that we are contributing to educational change in China in a positive way.

“We are still a young University here in China and our graduates are already making an impact in the business world, science and research and their communities.

“Our zero unemployment rate among our graduates is testimony to the high calibre of students we attract here and also highlights that the education they receive here equips them to thrive in a challenging, globalised work environment,” said Professor Miles.

The University regularly receives important visitors from China and elsewhere in the world who are interested in learning more about its success in China.

This is the first time Premier Wen has visited the campus, in the vibrant city of Ningbo. Late last year, Premier Wen met The University of Nottingham’s Vice Chancellor, Professor David Greenaway, in Beijing where he was part of a delegation led by UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

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