Australian university celebrates ties

Updated: 2011-11-03 07:59

By Zhang Yue (China Daily)

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A delegation of more than 50 professors and academics from the University of Sydney, Australia, gathered in Beijing to hold a program of academic and business meetings and events that culminated in a graduation ceremony for 200 students and 400 family members.

Marie Bashir, chancellor of the University of Sydney and governor of New South Wales, together with the university's vice-chancellor Michael Spence, led the delegation's visit from Oct 19 to Oct 22.

The graduation ceremony for the Chinese graduates of the university was held on Oct 22 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Beijing.

The delegation attended a series of academic summits on such topics as food security and sustainability, education assessment, and entrepreneurship in China.

Australian university celebrates ties

"China and Australia have a great many things in common in these fields," Spence says. "These are not only our issues, but both Australian and Chinese questions. And our academics always come home with lots of new ideas and joint projects to work on after their exchanges with China."

During the visit, the university also established partnerships with media in China and with media institutes at Chinese universities. These partnerships and exchange programs are for media professionals and students. The idea is to learn from Chinese and Australian media practices and work toward mutual cultural understanding.

Since 2005, the University of Sydney has held a graduation ceremony in Beijing or Shanghai every autumn exclusively for its Chinese graduates and parents who are often not able to attend the most important moment of their lives in Sydney. The first of these was held in Beijing in the Great Hall of the People in 2005.

The University of Sydney currently has 5,000 Chinese students - one of the largest number of universities in Australia - and more than 150 staff members working on contemporary China and issues facing it, Spence said at a news conference.

Earlier this year, the university opened its China Studies Center, bringing in 130 academics from across the university with a working interest in China.

The university is ranked fifth in the world by Thomson Reuters for joint science and technology research papers with China. It now has over 100 research partnerships with leading Chinese universities and academics.

Spence also says the changes to Australian visa regulations for international students announced recently by the Australian government, which has reduced the deposit required for a student visa and gives international students more working hours, is a welcome one.

"Streamlined visa processing will better assist those who are keen to study at our university, especially those from China," he says. "We welcome the best and brightest from around the world to Sydney University as an international center of learning."

The University of Sydney has a network of more than 15, 000 alumni in China.

China Daily

(China Daily 11/03/2011 page20)