The Publicity Dept. of the Yunnan Daily Comes to Interview KMU's International Exchange Department

Date:2012-03-14     Source:     Author:     Typeface:Big Middle Small


On September 16, 2011, Liu Hong, Director of the Publicity Department for Yunnan Daily, a reporter, and editor Yang Fanli arrived at Kunming University for an interview. This interview is one in a series by the Publicity Department of Yunnan Daily on the international departments of Yunnan Province's colleges and universities, in accordance with the “Bridging” Strategy set forth by the Provincial Government. Kunming University's Vice-President Li Xiang accepted the interview, along with faculty from the International Exchange Department.

    Vice-President Li introduced some of the history of Kunming University's International Exchange Department, since its formal establishment in 2008, to Director Liu Hong. In the past three years, during the: institutional merging, personnel adjustments and allocation, organization of resources, establishment of regulations, shifting pedagogical concepts, and construction of and transition to the new campus, the work of the department has been extremely busy and difficult. However, thanks to strong support from the university administration and cooperation from each office, college, and department, in just three short years, more than 40 connections with colleges and universities in fifteen countries has been established, and more than ten exchange agreements have been signed with schools in: the United Kingdom, America, Thailand, India, Indonesia, as well as China's Taiwan Region. More than 300 foreign (including China's Hong Kong and Taiwan Regions) leaders and academics have visited Kunming University from: Finland, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and officials from fourteen French speaking African countries have come to tour, observe, and meet, to discuss cooperative projects, and to donate art and books. Kunming University's leaders have gone abroad to participate in international education conferences, take part in training courses, hire faculty, as well as visit and observe foreign schools. Foreign student enrollment has been progressing steadily and to date totals over 200 person-times. At the same time, the College of Agriculture has enrolled Burmese students in a degree program majoring in agricultural studies. The International Exchange Department of Kunming University has clearly developed and the reputation and recognition of Kunming University has been improved. Exchange and cooperation work has expanded and some specific projects have already begun to yield results.

    In summarizing Kunming University's future development, Vice-President Li answered the Yunnan Daily reporter's questions and raised the following concepts:

I. Establishing a big picture view of international exchange must spring from serving the national foreign relations strategy, understanding and serving the larger political cooperative strategy for bordering countries, and placing the university's international exchange and cooperation within this framework.

II.   Old methods of exchange must be broken out of. Academic exchange should be used as a strategic point of entry, building bridges, platforms, and channels for political and economic cooperation, developing talent with an understanding of globalization in order to develop local economies and cultures, which is one of the broad goals of academic institutions.

III.   Two opportunities must be seized: the “Bridging” Strategy, and the 12th Five-Year Plan. These two junctures require an adjustment of posture, with our backs to the homeland, facing South-Asia and Southeast-Asia, gradually developing  into more distant regions. Within the framework of the “Bridging” Strategy, guided by scientific development principles, the university's international exchange and cooperation's “12th Five-Year Plan” needs to be specific with the clear direction of focusing on South-Asia and Southeast-Asia, and gradually expanding towards East Asia, Europe, and America.

IV.    The perception of exchange projects needs to be strengthened, springing from the realities of the university, seeing projects as the figurehead, relating widely, focusing on essentials, beginning from ourselves, starting close to home and working out, going from small to large, from low to high, proactive and stable, promoting projects with real potential for real cooperation with foreign schools and educational institutions. The market needs to be: analyzing, developed, and established. For developed Southeast-Asian nations, exchange and cooperation together is key; for less-developed South-Asian and Southeast-Asian nations, appropriate investment, training, and establishing markets is key, in order to obtain influence over these regions of the international markets.

V. Three platforms must be created in order to build a firm foundation for international exchange and cooperation.

1. Building a disciplinary and field specific platform. Forming structure within each discipline and specialty, continually improving academic levels in order to meet international standards, ultimately becoming a partner with resources to exchange.

2. Building a conditions platform. The university's facilities and equipment needs to be strengthened in order to ensure the quality of both its hardware and software for international exchange.

3. Creating an atmosphere platform. Creating an atmosphere where everyone puts importance on international exchange, knows how to carry it out, and ultimately creates more of this atmosphere.

VI.       Three awarenesses which need strengthening

1. Being aware of the larger national foreign relations picture and the nation's interests in order to serve as a strategic point of contact.

2. Being aware of the university's place on the front lines of international exchange and cooperation for the city of Kunming.

3. Being aware of how to establish the platform and use the channel of international educational exchange in order to serve government and business cooperative projects.

VII. Three abilities need to be developed by all university staff, faculty, and students: communication abilities, cross-cultural communication abilities, and project planning and implementation abilities.

    Vice-President Li also described some of the future goals of the International Exchange Department to Director Liu Hong; within the next few years Kunming University will build on its existing experience to set new target goals and continue to develop a new globalized educational environment. Kunming University has the potential and capabilities needed in order to become a nationally known university, among the top universities in the region, strategically serving the local economy and culture, and ultimately even extending its influence to neighboring countries as a comprehensive university.

    Finally, Yunnan Daily's Publicity Department Director Liu Hong expressed the desire that the International Exchange Department, under the school's leadership, would establish a long-term relationship with the Publicity Department of Yunnan Daily, sending regular reports on the international exchange and cooperation of Kunming University. In addition, Director Liu Hong expressed a desire to support Kunming University in its international exchange work, and the belief that in the not-so-distant future, Kunming University would be in a totally new phase of development.