The Vice-Chancellor, Dr Saleem Badat, recently visited China at the invitation of the Chinese Minister of Education, Professor Yuan Guireng, to participate in the World University Presidents Forum and to also attend the 26th Universiade (World University Games) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universiade) in Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China.
Prof Ma Yue, the Head of the Chinese Studies Division in the School of Languages, accompanied Dr Badat and served as invaluable guide and interpreter. The Confucius Institute at Rhodes University organised the visit to China.
The first stop was Beijing. Here, Dr Badat visited the Hanban (http://english.hanban.org/), which funds the Confucius Institute, and met with Ms Xu Lin, the Director General and Chief Executive of Hanban/the Confucius Institute Headquarters, and other Hanban officials.
Issues related to the further development of Chinese Studies at Rhodes were discussed. Dr Badat extended an invitation to Ms Xu Lin to visit Rhodes and to also consider Rhodes as a host venue for the 2012 Regional Conference of the African Confucius Institutes. The successful meeting was extended into an impromptu dinner at a Beijing restaurant hosted by Ms Xu Lin.
In Beijing, where the temperature on occasions reached 40 degrees centigrade, there were visits to the Forbidden City, the National Museum, the Temple of Heaven and other sights. There was also a day bus trip to the Ming Tombs and to a section of the Great Wall at Badaling.
The next stop was Shenzhen, which is in the south of China and faces Hong Kong across a bay. Thirty years ago, Shenzhen was a small fishing village of 30 000 people. The first new economic zone created by the reformer Deng Xiaoping, today Shenzhen is a modern high-rise city of 10 million people.
Here, Dr Badat attended the opening of the Universiade by the Chinese President Hu Jintao, which he describes a ‘spectacular’ event. He was also able to cheer the some 200-strong South African contingent at the Games, which included Rhodes students Lance Ho and Simon Naude (both Archery), and Andrew Matatu (Chair of Rhodes Student Sports Council).
Dr Badat also participated in the World University Presidents Forum, in which about 200 university presidents and vice-chancellors from all continents and numerous countries took part.
He was one of just five invited international speakers. His address ‘The Internationalization of HE and Cultivation of Talents: the South-North Movement of Students in the Epoch of Globalization’ (thread to paper) was very well-received and extensively reported in the local media.
Officials of the Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges in the Ministry of Education expressed their interest to engage with him around his call for new normative, structural and institutional arrangements so that the movement of students from the South to the North can reap greater benefits for societies in the South.
Dr Badat spent the evening of 13-14 August in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province as a guest of Rhodes’ Chinese partner institution, Jinan University . Dr Badat met with the JNU President, Professor Hu, who very kindly indicated his willingness to extend Prof. Ma Yue’s stay at Rhodes beyond 2012.
The final stage of the trip was a day in Hong Kong. Here Dr Badat was hosted by Rhodes alumnus Mr Paul Anderson (currently at Citi Group). He had a dinner meeting with a number of Rhodes alumni, including Mr Ewan Copeland, another prominent Citi Group official. The intention is to create an alumni network in Hong Kong and to also draw on these alumni in developing some aspects of the Chinese Studies programme at Rhodes.
Rhodes Vice-Chancellor, Dr Saleem Badat meeting with Ms Xu Lin, head of the Hanban.
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