A delegation from UCD headed by Dr Philip Nolan, Deputy President, visited Renmin University of China (RUC) on 23rd January 2007. The delegation’s main purpose was twofold: to participate in the first Executive Board Meeting of UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland and to attend the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Agreement on Academic Co-operation between UCD and RUC.
RUC is consistently ranked among the top five universities in China, and, together with Tsinghua University and Peking University, has the most competitive entry standards in the country. Before the signing ceremony, the delegation was greeted by Prof. Ji Baocheng, President of RUC, Prof. Chen Yulu, Vice President, and other senior staff. Opening the meeting, Prof Ji gave the UCD delegation a brief introduction to RUC, reporting that in a recent appraisal conducted by the Ministry of Education, five disciplines at RUC ranked first among all the universities in China. These five disciplines are: Theoretical Economics, Applied Economics, Journalism and Communication, Legal Studies, and Sociology. Prof Ji also said he was pleased to see his former colleague at the Ministry of Commerce among the delegates, Dr Liming Wang, now Director of The Irish Institute for Chinese Studies at UCD, building a bridge between the two universities.
In response to Prof Ji’s welcome address, on behalf of the delegation from UCD, Dr Philip Nolan replied: ‘I am privileged and pleased to have an opportunity to visit Renmin University of China today. My colleagues and I are greatly impressed by your beautiful campus and modern facilities.’ He followed by telling the host that UCD is Ireland’s largest university and has the widest range of disciplines. Affirming that as a result of this MoU, in addition to the cooperation in establishing the Confucius Institute for Ireland, academic collaboration between the two universities will be extended to other areas and disciplines.
The signing ceremony was followed by the first Executive Board Meeting of UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland. As well as four members from UCD (Dr Philip Nolan, Professor Joe McMahon, Dr Erik Lithander and Dr Liming Wang) and four members from RUC (Professor CHEN Yulu, Vice Chair of the board, Professor TANG Zhong, Professor YANG Huilin and Professor LI Hui), the meeting was attended by two officials from Hanban, The Office of Chinese Language Council International (Mr GUO Lifan and Mr DUAN Yi).
At the meeting, Dr Liming Wang was officially appointed by the Board as Director of the Institute for the term of three years. The Draft 2007 Work Plan and Budget was discussed and approved in principle The next Board Meeting is scheduled to take place in August 2007, at UCD.
On 24th January, Prof Joe McMahon and Dr Liming Wang visited the Schools of International Studies, Law, and Teaching Chinese as Foreign Language at RUC. The possibilities of establishing joint MA programmes in Contemporary China Studies and of cooperation between the two Law Schools in their graduate programmes and research activities were explored. Both sides agreed that programmes such as these at postgraduate level would be a good starting point for further close cooperation.