British Ambassador Visits PKU
On 13 June 2017, the British Ambassador to China, Dame Barbara Woodward, visited Peking University and held a meeting with Peking University’s President Lin Jianhua to discuss the state of elite universities of the United Kingdom and China, as well as discussing the future ahead. Also, both parties advocated for the expansion of student exchange and dual-course programs.
Dame Woodward currently represents the interests of the Queen of the Commonwealth Realms, Elizabeth II, and the UK government. She has worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office since 1994 where she has experience representing the UK’s interests in Russia, the European Union, and China. She has held her ambassadorial post since 2015.
At the beginning of the meeting, Dame Woodward complimented the prowess shown within the Peking University science departments. Both parties praised the establishment of the University of Nottingham’s overseas campus in Ningbo; they agreed that this form of expansion was essential to strengthen the cooperation between British and Chinese universities.
Dame Woodward and President Lin went on to discuss the benefits of British and Chinese elite universities working closely together. President Lin emphasized the importance of research cooperation between the two countries’ universities and praised the cooperation between Peking and the UK elite universities, particularly Oxford, Cambridge, and Edinburgh University. Woodward stated that the cooperation and exchange between the UK and Chinese universities were essential for understanding the views not only of other universities, but also entirely different countries.
Nearing the end of the meeting, Dame Woodward spoke of Brexit, informing the President that the previously-anticipated ‘hard Brexit’ was unlikely to occur following the UK’s recent general election. She made it clear also that regardless of Brexit, the relationship between British and Chinese universities will remain as strong as ever.
Written by Andrew Scanlon