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With the success of the London Olympic Games and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the UK's capital city enjoyed a remarkable year in 2012.
And in the very heart of London, the University of Westminster has been providing academic excellence and personal enrichment since its inception as the Polytechnic Institution in 1838.
Established by Sir George Cayley, the Polytechnic Institute became publicly funded in 1891 and was renamed the Regent Street Polytechnic before becoming known as the Polytechnic of Central London.
The current University of Westminster, as it is now known, was established in 1992.
Today, it has 22,000 students and four campuses in London. Vice-Chancellor and Rector Geoff Petts is proud of the university's close ties to China. In fact, the university was twice presented with the Queen's Award for Enterprise for its overseas activity.
"While we are an international university, we are also distinctly British," said Petts.
"We thrive on our interdisciplinary and multicultural approach across a distinctive academic portfolio that is informed by professional practice and engagement with research in disciplines such as media, art and design, architecture, electronic engineering and biomedical sciences.
"We were the first UK institution to specialize in teaching modern spoken Chinese, and we have enjoyed a close relationship with China since 1977," he continues.
"The university's base in Beijing will be launched officially on April 25 and 26 this year.
"Each academic year we enroll about 100 undergraduates and 150 postgraduates from China," he added.
The University of Westminster has close ties with city governments throughout China.
It currently works with the China Media Center, China Central Television, Shanghai Media Group, Hunan Media Group and Shenzhen Media Group.
Meanwhile, its partnerships with Chinese educational institutions include Communication University of China, Renmin University, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Huaqiao University, Beijing Union University and Beijing Normal University.
Petts emphasized that he is keen to expand outward mobility, noting that Westminster students could benefit from the opportunity to study in China.
"There is a 'education-evolution' taking place in China, and the University of Westminster will play its part as this continues," said Petts. "The West is looking at China's ability to motivate students, as well as learning from the country's technical training programs. China offers intellectual capacity. "
"Students in China are ambitious and highly motivated. We will continue to engage with this pool of talent through new initiatives and partnerships," he added.
(China Daily 03/09/2013 page13)