On the afternoon of April 16th, His Royal Highness Prince Andrew The Duke of York, accompanied by Mr. Wu Hailong, President of the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA) visited Fujian Normal University and met with FNU’s senior staff-members. Also present at the meeting included Mrs. Amanda Thirsk, Private Secretary to the Duke, Prof. Bob Cryan, Vice Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield (UoH), Prof. Lynn Dobbs, Vice Chancellor of London Metropolitan University (London Met), Ms. Karen Maddock, Consul General of the British Consulate General in Guangzhou, James Norman, Consul of the British Consulate General in Guangzhou, Mr. Liu Lian, Deputy Director of the European Department of CPIFA, Mr. Chen Chuxin, Vice Chair of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries of Fujian Branch，Mr. Li Baoyin, Chair of the FNU Council, Prof. Wang Changping, President of FNU, and Prof. Lai Hairong, Vice President of FNU.
Mr. Li Baoyin extended a warm welcome to HRH The Duke of York on behalf of the university. In his welcome speech, he pointed out that the Duke has been actively engaged in matters of culture and education and that, as a strong advocate of educational co-operation and people-to-people exchange between China and the UK, he has made outstanding contributions to the friendship between the two countries. The Duke highly values the ties with China and actively promotes the China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership to a new height. Mr. Li also expressed the hope that the Duke would continue to support the exchange and co-operation between FNU and high-level British universities so as to promote mutual learning between the two peoples and harmonious co-existence of the two civilizations. On behalf of the university, Mr. Li presented a piece of bodiless lacquerware, a locally produced work of art with distinctive ethnic styles, as a gift to the Duke.
Prof. Wang Changping expressed the appreciation of the faculty and students of FNU for the positive role of the Duke has played as a result of which FNU has forged a cooperative relationship with UoH. Last year, the joint programme in Communication Engineering began to enroll students and now the two universities are working together to apply for a cooperatively-run college with non-independent legal entity status. He remarked that the relations between China and the UK are defined more by “travel mates” than by “distant neighbors”. He hoped that, with the support of the Duke, FNU could carry out cooperation programs with more British higher institutions so that together they could produce more golden fruits in the Golden Era of China-UK relations.
HRH The Duke of York remarked that he was delighted to have the opportunity to visit FNU. He said that in the numerous exchanges he had had with President Xi Jinping, they agreed that the educational connections between Britain and China holds the key to seeking common grounds, enhancing communication and reducing misunderstanding. As Chancellor of UoH, he is looking for partners to work with and FNU is an important partner of UoH. He also expressed hope to see new cooperation between FNU and London Met, of which he is Patron. He said that, as the best gift a parent can give their children is a better education than they had, then, in a global village, it was his wish to help effect that gift by promoting cooperation between FNU and British universities so as to give better education opportunities to students of both countries.
Prof. Bob Cryan expressed his pleasure to have had the opportunity to work with FNU. He said that the Duke has set up a high-level platform for co-operation between UoH and FNU so that the two universities could forge ahead in the “Golden Era” of the UK-China relations. He hoped to deepen exchange and co-operation with FNU, to make the programme a model of educational co-operation between the two countries.
Mr. Wu Hailong emphasized the fact that the first thing the Duke had done after arriving at Fujian was visit FNU, which spoke volume of how much he cared about education and education co-operation between the two countries. He believed that the Duke’s visit would surely further push forward the educational communication and cooperation between Fujian and Britain. He regarded the co-operation program between FNU and UoH a very good starting point, which would contribute to promoting mutual learning and common development in education between the two countries.
After the meeting, the Duke and his delegation enjoyed a panoramic view of the campus before heading to the College of Photonic and Electronic Engineering. There they visited labs, talked to the first undergraduate class of the programme, and presented HRH The Duke of York Scholarship to young scholars. The Duke interacted with both Chinese and British students and faculty members and enquired about their study and work.
HRH Prince Andrew The Duke of York is a member of the British royal family. Born on Feb. 19, 1960, he is the second son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburg. He holds ranks in the Royal Navy, which he joined in 1979. In 1981 he was presented the award for the best pilot. In 1986 the Queen created him Duke of York. From 2001 until July 2011, he held the post of UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.
(Translated by Liang Li’e, reviewed by Lin Mingjin)