Recently, Tongji University held a conference on the theme of "New Context, New Mission, New Undertaking" to promote international exchange and cooperation. The aim of the conference was to comprehensively review Tongji University’s achievements in international education during the 13th Five-Year Plan period, to plan and arrange international cooperation and exchange during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, and to make a new design of higher education for the post-pandemic era. Tongji University Special Plan of International Exchange during the 14th Five-Year Plan Period (Draft) and Opinions on Tongji University’s Accelerating the Opening Up of Education in the New Era (Draft) were discussed at the conference.
The Secretary General of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Dorothea Rüland, and the Deputy Director General and First-class Inspector from the Department of International Cooperation and Exchange of the Ministry of Education FANG Jun delivered video speeches. The Deputy Director of the Foreign Affairs Office of Shanghai Municipal People's Government LIU Guangyong, the Deputy Director of Shanghai Municipal Education Commission LI Yongzhi, Tongji University Party Secretary FANG Shouen, and President CHEN Jie attended the conference and delivered speeches. Other university leaders, heads of the administrative departments and affiliated units, and deans of specialization colleges/schools attended the conference which was chaired by Executive Vice President WU Jiang. Nearly 50 sister universities, alliance partners, embassies and consulates as well as authorities from all over the world sent their greetings to the conference through video link.
Secretary General Dorothea Rüland observed that DAAD and Tongji University have a 45-year history of trustworthy cooperation, and that the COVID-19 pandemic has provided a strong reminder of the need for joint scientific research across national borders to effectively contribute to global solutions. Clearly, international cooperation needs to be augmented rather than diminished. FANG Jun remarked that Tongji University's international academic exposure is at the forefront among universities in China and has laid a solid foundation for the next step in planning and implementing a more extensive form of higher education globalization. He put forward six suggestions for the university's international exchange and cooperation: first, to raise awareness and understand the new spirit of the central government in further opening up education in the new era; second, to integrate resources and build a high-quality platform for cooperative education; third, to strengthen the work for international students to study in China; fourth, to give full play to the university’s advantages and participate in global education governance; fifth, to make good use of the university’s high standing and play a leading role in international cooperation; and sixth, to nurture talented young people who have a global vision and can work in international organizations. LIU Guangyong remarked that Tongji University has carried out its international exchange and cooperation work in unison with the goal of greater global integration and international collaboration. It has expanded the concept of the national strategy of "One Body with Two Wings and Engines", strengthened Sino-German cooperation comprehensively, promoted exchanges along the Belt and Road, and achieved fruitful results in attracting talents and intelligence as well as integrating science and education. He hoped that the university will participate more in international cooperation, to attract more top talent and accelerate the internationalization of higher education. After sharing some thoughts on the internationalization of education in the post-pandemic era, LI Yongzhi pointed out that the internationalization of education is at a critical moment for "fostering new opportunities in crises and opening up new situations in changes" as stated by General Secretary XI Jinping.
Dorothea Rüland delivers a video speech
FANG Jun delivers a video speech
LIU Guangyong delivers a speech
LI Yongzhi delivers a speech
In his speech, CHEN Jie reviewed Tongji's history of developing education on the international stage and elaborated on characteristics of the university's internationalization. He observed that challenges and opportunities co-exist in opening up higher education internationally in the post-pandemic era. In the face of challenges, we should first raise awareness and accelerate the formation of a new development of internal and external circulations; then integrate resources and transform the traditional entity platform to a new integrated learning platform; and eventually to make concerted efforts to build a large-scale international exchange and cooperation network of education. He highlighted six key points for Tongji University’s international development during the 14th Five-Year Plan period: first, to internationalize the faculty to assimilate and nurture international talent; second, to internationalize the student structure to create a conducive environment for fostering outstanding talent; third, to globalise disciplines and specialties to promote innovative international collaboration in scientific research; fourth, to internationalize "iron-clad friends" to create a global cooperation network; fifth, to undertake global promotion to enhance international exposure and influence; and sixth, to globalize management services to build a high-quality international campus.
CHEN Jie speaks at the conference
Vice President JIANG Changjun gave a report on Tongji University’s special plan for international exchange during the 14th Five-Year Plan period. The report introduced the strategic objectives, key building blocks, elements of reform and measures to be taken. He reviewed Tongji’s achievements in international exchange and cooperation during the 13th Five-Year Plan period, and expounded on the nature of Tongji’s international cooperation.
WU Jiang chairs the conference
WU Jiang presides over the meeting
JIANG Changjun makes a special report
The heads of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Sino-German College of Applied Sciences and School of Economics and Management gave speeches respectively on helping the construction of world-class disciplines, inheriting the tradition of exchange with Germany, and building an international platform to enhance global standing.
LI Xiangning from College of Architecture and Urban Planning
FENG Xiao from Sino-German College of Applied Sciences
LI Yuan from School of Economics and Management
The conference continued in the afternoon in four sessions on "International Cooperation Mechanism ", "Nurturing International Talent", "Talent Introduction and International Research", and "International Platform Construction". FANG Shouen, CHEN Jie and other leaders of the university participated in the discussions to hear participants’ suggestions for the University’s international exchange and cooperation work during the 14th Five-Year Plan period. In the end, representatives from each session presented a briefing of their discussions.
In his concluding speech, FANG Shouen expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the leaders, sister universities and alliance partners and all sectors of society for their concern, support and help for Tongji University‘s international exchange and cooperation work. Tongji University was born at the crossroads of Chinese and Western cultures, and inherited the excellent gene of "international cooperation". It has carried forward the tradition, characteristics and advantages of international collaboration. This conference was seen as an important step for the university to implement both the spirit of the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee and the Opinions of Eight Departments Including the Ministry of Education on Accelerating and Expanding the Opening-up of Education in the New Era. It is necessary to draw a "new blueprint" for the University's international exchange and cooperation work during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, and even beyond, through collecting ideas and building consensus. Tongji University will further enhance its political standing, strengthen the overall planning for promoting the value of international education, and improve the systems and mechanism to guarantee future international cooperation and exchanges.
FANG Shouen delivers a concluding remark
During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, Tongji University's international exchange and cooperation work focused on the vision of building a world-class university with Chinese characteristics. It promoted high-quality international cooperation, reinforced practical cooperation with world-class universities and research institutes, led cooperation with Germany as well as strengthened cooperation with other European countries. The University expanded its global cooperation structure, and formed a international cooperation network relying on its international cooperation platform and specialisation colleges. As a result, Tongji has improved its international influence, strengthened its international research cooperation and improved its mechanisms to gather international talent. At present, Tongji University has 284 global partners, including 37 strategic partners.
In addressing the 14th Five-Year Plan, Tongji University will focus on the national and regional development strategies, give full play to the university's traditions and advantages of international cooperation, aim at world-class standards, and help with the development of Double First-class Universities and Disciplines and with the construction of Shanghai Science and Technology Innovation Center. The University will be committed to the fundamental task of strengthening moral education, improving the international cooperation, and building itself into a world-class university with Chinese characteristics.
Tongji University will further improve its strategic layout and enhance the level of international exchange and foreign cooperation through international education, international platform, international faculty and students, international research, international organizations, international conferences, international journals and international awards. It will achieve this through the internationalization of faculty, student structure, specialties, “iron-clad friends”, promotion and management services, and form a more comprehensive, wide-ranging, multi-level and active international exposure. With the help of three languages of Chinese, English and German, it will actively expand cooperation and exchange to support the national strategic layout of "One Body with Two Wings and Engines", to strengthen reform in talent training, scientific and technological innovation, teacher capacity building, cultural heritage, and support, for international cooperation and exchange to meet major national strategic needs, local economic and social development, and the university’s goal of building Double First-class University and Disciplines.
Written by AI Jiao
Photographed by JIANG Piang & ZHOU You
Videoed by Foreign Affairs Office & WU Yixiang