On 25 April 2015, Mr. Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive Officer of the British Council visited Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU). Mr. Devane was accompanied by Ms. Carma Elliot, Director of British Council China and Minister of Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy; Mr. Matt Burney, Area Director of British Council East China; Mr. Greg Selby, Director of Examinations East Asia; and Mr. Michael King, Director of Examinations Operation China.
Professor Youmin Xi, Executive President of XJTLU, Professor André Brown, Vice President (Academic Affairs), and Dr. Stuart Perrin, Dean for Learning and Teaching and Director of Language Centre welcomed the delegation.
Professor Xi gave a brief presentation about XJTLU, describing the path XJTLU has taken and how XJTLU’s unique model has helped the University to achieve its extraordinary development over the past nine years. He emphasised that XJTLU’s mission is not only to educate global citizens to succeed in international competitions, but also to contribute to economic and social development, and to help the reformation of Chinese higher education.
He indicated that universities need to be ‘forward looking’ to tackle challenges that society is facing. XJTLU is focused on building an International Open Research and Innovation Platform to contribute to Suzhou’s development as the core region of the South Jiangsu National Innovation Demonstration Area, and to tackle challenges such as the aging population, environment protection, sustainable development, big data and urbanisation.
Mr. Devane was impressed by the significant achievements that XJTLU has made and the international learning environment that XJTLU offers to international students. He said, “If I do my next postgraduate degree, I will look at your syllabus.” Mr. Devane indicated that XJTLU provides an ideal platform for young people in the UK to have an experience of China, especially with XJTLU’s close links with industry and business sectors in the Yangtze River Delta Region.
He expressed that XJTLU and the British Council may be able to launch programmes for Generation UK - China. Generation UK - China was launched by the British Council in 2013. It aims to help students from the UK boost their employability, enhance their long-term job prospects and develop a global mindset through study and work experience opportunities in China.
Both sides also discussed collaboration opportunities with Research Councils UK on potential research findings and with the Institute of Leadership and Education Advanced Development (ILEAD) on teacher’s training.