“Victoria University Day” in Xiamen, China
A senior VUW delegation visited the southern Chinese coastal city of Xiamen over the Easter break, to discuss joint university programmes and to celebrate Victoria University of Wellington Day at Xiamen University (XMU). Xiamen University has a longstanding relationship with VUW, including being the partner university for the VUW Confucius Institute.
The delegation comprised Marc Aurel Schnabel, Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor (Science, Engineering, Architecture and Design), John Macalister, Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor (Humanities, Social Sciences and Education), Blair McRae, Assistant Vice-Chancellor (International Engagement), Rebecca Needham, Director of the Confucius Institute at VUW, and Xiaoyi Guan, China Country Manager for VUW.
The visit included a number of high level engagements, including a meeting with XMU Vice President Wu Daguang and other senior XMU representatives, during which the two sides discussed topics such as innovations in educational exchanges, joint programmes in architecture, humanities and social sciences and other disciplines, and future high level university visits.
On the morning of March 30, VUW Day was formally opened at the Science and Arts Centre in XMU, together with a VUW Photo Exhibition. Vice President of XMU Zhan Xinli addressed the opening ceremony, noting the Wellington-Xiamen sister city relationship (begun in 1987), the XMU-VUW school-level cooperation agreement of 2006, and the establishment of the Confucius Institute at VUW in 2010, as milestones in the links between the two universities. VUW Day provided an opportunity to further deepen cooperation between the universities in multiple fields, towards the goal of globalisation of education.
After the opening ceremony, the two sides attended the VUW Day Photo Exhibition, which was presented in five sections (Scenic Wellington, Walking into Victoria University of Wellington, Xiamen - Wellington Relations, Xiamen University and Victoria University Partnership, and Establishment of the Confucius Institute).
The VUW delegation also visited XMU’s new campus in the Xiang'an area of Xiamen, covering an area of 243 hectares, and housing the Schools of Medicine and Life Sciences, Earth Sciences and Technology, and newly emerging disciplines and applied disciplines. XMU’s Xiang’an campus currently has around 10,000 students, with student accommodation for 5,000. An aerospace training facility on campus has been established in tandem with the construction of Xiamen’s new international airport in the same district (estimated completion date 2020). The campus also houses the Southern Base of Confucius Institute Headquarters and training facilities as well as the Chinese language and culture teaching base for XMU’s international students.
Other VUW Day highlights included Professors Schnabel and Macalister delivering guest lectures respectively to the teachers and students from the College of Architecture and Civil Engineering and the College of Foreign Languages and Cultures.
The Confucius Institute at VUW also held a well-attended recruitment event for prospective XMU applicants for the Mandarin Language Assistants (MLA) programme, under which the CI VUW annually deploys over 50 MLAs to around 145 New Zealand schools from Wellington to Tauranga to support the teaching of Chinese language and culture. CI VUW has brought out over 100 XMU graduates to teach under the MLA programme in New Zealand over the past six years, including 17 MLAs from Xiamen in the 2018 MLA cohort.
A number of our past CI VUW Mandarin Language Assistants as well as other VUW alumni also attended a VUW Alumni Dinner as part of the 2-day programme.
[Note] Xiamen University (XMU) was founded in 1921 by Mr. Tan Kah Kee, the first university in China founded by an overseas Chinese. It is currently one of China's 36 Class A universities in the state’s new Double First Class University Plan. According to the University Undergraduates Teaching Assessment and the Chinese Universities Evaluation Standings, Xiamen University is ranked 11th in China and has maintained a Top 20 ranking in China, among which 6 subjects reach A++ level, including economics and management, fine art, law, chemistry, journalism, communication and mathematics. The School of Management is accredited by EQUIS and the Association of MBAs.
Currently, the university has a total enrollment of over 40,000 full-time students on campus, including 19,739 undergraduates, 16,875 master students, 3,164 doctoral students. Xiamen University has over 4000 international students studying in the university annually, including short-term and long-term training programs.
Xiamen University has inter-university cooperation with over 300 institutions of higher education at home and abroad, including with Victoria University of Wellington, with whom it is the Chinese partner of the VUW Confucius Institute.