Laurier opens China office to promote collaboration and internationalization
Kevin Crowley, Associate Director, News and Editorial Servcies 519-884-0710 (3070)
Oct 12/07| For Immediate Release
Kevin Crowley, Associate Director
CHONGQING, CHINA — Wilfrid Laurier University has opened an office in one of the most dynamic regions of China to promote academic collaboration, research partnerships, and faculty and student exchanges.
The new office is based at Chongqing University, a major comprehensive university in the municipality of Chongqing, located on the Yangtze River in southwest China.
“The Laurier office in China will provide our students and faculty with the support needed to access an unprecedented number of opportunities to gain understanding of Asian and global perspectives,” said Dr. Max Blouw, president and vice-chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University. “Our objective is to increase co-operation in addressing some of the most important economic, social and environmental issues of the day.”
The office will provide Laurier with a central support unit for its many academic initiatives in China while furthering the university’s efforts to enhance its relationships with international partners.
“We are delighted to be opening this new office in China, which will help with internationalization at Laurier, one of the strategic objectives of our academic Century Plan,” said Dr. Sue Horton, Laurier’s vice-president: academic. “We are delighted to partner with universities in Chongqing, given the importance attached to higher education in China.”
A number of universities from around the world have partnerships in the Chongqing area, but Laurier is the first Canadian university to establish an office in this strategically important region.
“China is becoming a leading force in the economic, scientific and academic realms,” said Peter Donahue, director of Laurier International, who was in Chongqing for the announcement. “The establishment of an office here — especially in an important commercial and academic centre like Chongqing — provides Laurier with excellent opportunities for academic collaboration and faculty and student exchanges.”
The collaboration and exchanges will include a variety of disciplines, from business to social work, and from the sciences to the humanities and social sciences.
“The Chinese are growing their expertise in the humanities and social sciences, not just in science and engineering,” said Donahue. “They are very interested in the way we teach such subjects as business and social work.”
The Laurier office in China will initially consist of a manager and an assistant who will work with the Canadian Consulate in Chongqing to broaden relationships with Laurier’s existing 18 partners in China and to pursue new opportunities.
Chongqing is an influential municipality of 32 million people and some 50 universities and colleges. China’s central government is promoting the region as a hub of economic growth and reform under the country’s Western Development Strategy. Approximately 25 Canadian companies already have investment or commercial interests in the area.
The Laurier office will be based at Chongqing University. However, Laurier will use the office to work with other post-secondary educational institutions in the region: Southwest University, Chongqing Technology and Business University, Chongqing Jaotong University, Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications, and Southwest University of Political Science and Law.
Chongqing University is a major comprehensive university that has received preferential support under the Chinese government’s “211 Project,” which aims to strengthen and improve the country’s top universities. Chongqing University has 24 colleges, a graduate school, the City College, the College of Continuing Education, and the College of Networking Education. As of 2006, total enrolment stood at 57,472 students, including 12,000 master’s and doctoral students.
The China office initiative was spearheaded by Laurier International, an office of the univiersity that strives to provide leadership, service and support to Laurier’s international presence and activities.