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Xi's lasting support inspires faculties

University executives, students vow greater roles in China-US mutual ties

By ZHANG YUNBI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-06-15 07:11
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This photo taken on June 13, 2024 shows a view in the campus of Wenzhou-Kean University in Wenzhou, East China's Zhejiang province. [Photo/Xinhua]

A recent reply sent by President Xi Jinping has greatly inspired the Chinese and American faculties of Wenzhou-Kean University, a signature project of China-US higher education cooperation.

"I'm impressed with President Xi's unwavering support for Wenzhou-Kean University and its mission to provide access to the high-quality international educational experience we offer," said Lamont Repollet, president of Kean University in the US state of New Jersey.

In 2006, Wenzhou University in eastern China's Zhejiang province and Kean University officially signed an agreement to cooperate in founding Wenzhou-Kean University.

And Xi, who was then secretary of the Communist Party of China Zhejiang Provincial Committee, has shown great care and offered personal encouragement to this cooperation, and attended the agreement signing ceremony.

This photo taken on June 13, 2024 shows a view in the campus of Wenzhou-Kean University in Wenzhou, East China's Zhejiang province. [Photo/Xinhua]

In April, Repollet wrote to Xi as Wenzhou-Kean University celebrated the 10th anniversary of its establishment, as approved by the Ministry of Education in 2014.

"I wrote to express my gratitude for his vision and ongoing support for Wenzhou-Kean University and to share my vision to build on WKU's success," he said.

In his recent reply letter, Xi said education exchanges and cooperation help to encourage the people of the two countries, especially the youth, to get to know each other better, and this is a "project for the future" for the development of China-US ties.

Xi underlined that China-US relations have a great bearing on the well-being of the two peoples and the future of mankind.

"I appreciate the president's commitment to people-to-people exchanges, especially for young people," Repollet said.

"They will be the light that shines toward a bright future with understanding, cooperation and mutual growth that benefits people, societies and economies," he added.

Repollet wrapped up his latest visit to China on Thursday. He attended the annual commencement ceremony of Wenzhou-Kean University last week.

"We are making great strides expanding WKU's enrollment, faculty ranks and scholarly output; with an eye to increasingly be an anchor that serves the cultural, educational, and business needs of the surrounding community and beyond," he said.

Currently, WKU has about 4,500 students across undergraduate, master's and doctoral programs, and over 4,000 have earned their degrees over the past eight years.

Jiang Letian, an undergraduate student of communication studies, said he was very excited to read Xi's reply letter.

"His reply letter emphasizes the importance of cooperation between Chinese and US colleges and universities, which will not only promote academic exchanges, but also provide wonderful opportunities for young people of the two countries to get to know each other better and enhance their friendship," Jiang said.

"Next semester I will go to Kean University in the US as an exchange student, and I will contribute my youthful strength to building a friendly bridge between China and the US while studying there."

John Kean, trustee of Kean University, director of Wenzhou-Kean University Board and a representative of the Kean family, recalled that during his last visit to China in October, he toured the new buildings in the campus and met a number of students.

"As our campus grows, we will also continue to expand our fields of study and course offerings," he said.

"Our highly experienced faculty from around the world enables us to deliver a truly world-class education, preparing our graduates to be successful wherever they choose to go, whether that pursuit is here in China, or anywhere in the world," he added.

Speaking to graduates of Class 2024, he said, "We are counting on each of you to overcome obstacles and push the boundaries of progress to make lasting change in your field, your communities, and the increasingly interconnected world in which we live. "

Wu Zhe, an English major graduate of the university's Class 2023, said, "I can feel that the internationalized education and cross-cultural environment of this university is being recognized and acknowledged by the world."

The targeted training and education and the individualized support for students "have made me a student with both a deep love of the country and an international outlook", Wu said.

"It will also enable me to have better communication with the world in the future and promote cultural exchanges between China and the West."

To boost mutual understanding among young people, President Xi proposed an ambitious program in November in San Francisco to invite a total of 50,000 US young people to visit China for exchanges over the following five years.

Wang Beijiao, chairman of the Board of Directors of WKU, noted that Xi also emphasized in his reply letter the importance of youth exchanges between China and the US.

Over the past decade, Wenzhou-Kean University and Kean University in the US have exchanged more than 1,700 students with each other, Wang said.

"Since the beginning of spring this year, 27 students from Kean University in the US have come to study at Wenzhou-Kean University," he added. "The two universities will further plan to advance exchanges between China and the US and the development of the campus."

"We will work together for the future success of Wenzhou-Kean University, so that outstanding young people from all over the world can gather here to study, exchange and grow together, and in the future become a majestic force for achieving national rejuvenation and contributing to world peace."

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