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Brussels, 7 December 2012

Higher Education in China and Hong Kong: Recent developments and relations with Europe


Since spring 2012, following the first round of the EU-China High Level People-to-People Dialogue (HPPD), people-to-people exchange has become one of the ‘three pillars’ of the EU-China institutional architecture, in addition to political and trade relations. Cooperation between the EU and China in higher education, specifically academic mobility, is expected to grow in both quantitative and qualitative terms, and in both directions within this policy framework. 

Traditionally a major source country of mobile students, China aspires to attract 500 000 overseas students by 2020. The number of government scholarships to be offered to foreign students will be doubled from 25 000 in 2011 to 50 000 in 2015. One fifth of them has been allocated to European students. Scholarship is but one of the many instruments employed by the Chinese government to attract foreign students, as well as graduates of Chinese origin, to study and work in China. The Study in China (2010-2020) campaign and other active recruitment activities involving organisations such as the China Scholarship Council (CSC) and the China Education Association of International Exchange (CEAIE) together have created a dynamic environment for the promotion of international mobility between China and the rest of the world. 

By now, we have seen clearly demonstrated political will, policy framework and support instruments for bilateral exchange between the EU and China. The passion for Chinese students and scholars to reach out remains strong. The interest of Europeans in Chinese higher education has also grown over the years with China assuming a greater role in world politics and economy. The conditions are right. But the question of how remains big in the way of cooperation between China and Europe. 

How well informed are policymakers and institutional leaders, from both the Chinese and European sides, about the diversity, strengths and weaknesses of their counterparts? How well aware are they of the systemic changes in European and Chinese higher education systems that have given rise to both opportunities and challenges for cooperation? How exactly can a successful and sustainable partnership be created between European and Chinese institutions, bearing in mind the very different political, cultural and socio-economic realities between the East an the West?    

ACA’s European Policy Seminar series is known for its open discussion of thought-provoking questions pertinent to the external dimensions of the European Higher Education Area.  With Erasmus preparing to go global, and inevitably to emerging economies such as China, by 2014, we invite interested parties at all levels to join us at the 35th ACA European Policy Seminar for a journey to re-discover the ‘silk road’ between Europe and China.   


Thursday 6 December



Seminar dinner

Friday 7 December





Welcome and introduction


Why China and Hong Kong?
Queenie K. H. Lam, Project Officer, ACA


Getting the ‘lay of the land’


Enhancing Chinese higher education : the successor of the 211 and 985 projects
Li Jianmin, Minister-Counsellor, Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the European Union (Brussels, Belgium)


Opportunities for mobility: 4-year curriculum and other reforms in Hong Kong
Richard Armour, Secretary-General, University Grants Committee, Hong Kong SAR Government (Hong Kong SAR, China)


Coffee break


Internationalisation of higher education systems in China and Hong Kong


Reaching out to the world: attracting international students to China
Yang Meng, Deputy Secretary-General, China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE) (Beijing, China)


On the way to ‘world class’: Chinese universities in the Academic Ranking of World Universities
Wang Qi, Lecturer, Centre for World-Class Universities, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Shanghai, China)


Balancing the local and global: Hong Kong universities in China, Asia and the world
Joshua K. H. Mok, Chair Professor of Comperative Policy, Hong Kong Institute of Education (Hong Kong SAR, China)


Sandwich Lunch


Collaborating with China and Hong Kong


Part I – European policies and programmes


The European Union’s global higher education strategy: policies and programmes for encouraging student mobility with China and Hong Kong
Vitto Borrelli, European Commission / DG Education and Culture (Brussels, Belgium)


External dimension of the European Research Area: cooperation with China and Hong Kong in research and innovation
Peter van der Hijden, Policy Officer, European Commission / DG Research and innovation (Brussels, Belgium)


Coffee break


Part II – Experience sharing


UK: setting up transnational education in China
Andrew Disbury, Director of the International Office, Leeds Metropolitan University (Leeds, the United Kingdom)


Germany: Chinese academic mobility to Germany – actor and institutional perspectives
Maggi W. H. Leung, Associate Professor, International Development Studies, Utrecht University (Utrecht, the Netherlands)


Australia: comparing collaboration experience with Europe and China
John Hearn, Deputy Vice Chancellor International, University of Sydney / CEO of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) (Sydney, Australia)


Wrap-up and goodbye


Bernd Wächter, Director, ACA (Brussels, Belgium)


End of the seminar


Queenie K. H. Lam

Queenie (Kwan Heung) LAM is Project Officer in ACA since 2010. In this capacity she has been involved in projects, such as, Comparative study of European and national-level policies and practices on academic mobility (ENPMOB) and State Grants and Loans as a Means to Increase Outgoing Mobility. She also contributes regularly to the ACA monthly newsletter – Education Europe. Before joining ACA, Queenie spent six years at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK, Hong Kong) working for the university’s human resources office and international office, and one year at the International Study Centre of the University of Kassel in Germany as Senior Adviser for the university’s international summer school. Queenie holds an MPhil in Communication awarded by CUHK (2006) and has recently completed her thesis for an international master’s degree in Higher Education Research and Development offered by INCHER Kassel (Germany).

Li Jianmin

LI Jianmin is Minister-Counsellor and Head of Education and Culture Office of the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the European Union. Mr Li graduated from Peking University with a BSc in Mathematics in 1983 and studied higher education management at the Graduate School of Cornell University (US) in 1989-90. He began his career in the Division of Arts and Science of the Office of Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council and the Department of Postgraduate Education of the Ministry of Education where he first served as a staff member and division chief (1983-89) and was later promoted to Deputy Director and Director (1991-95, 1999-2001). During his service in the ministry, Mr Li completed various overseas postings. He was Consul of the Education Office of the Consulate-General of P. R. China in New York City (1995-99), and later Education Counsellor and Head of Education Office of the Consulate-General of P. R. China in Sydney (2001-06).

Mr Li’s immediate past appointment before joining the Mission of China to the EU last year, was Deputy Secretary-General of China Scholarship Council (CSC) (2006-11).  CSC is a non-profit institution affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education. Its major responsibility is to provide financial assistance to mobile students, both incoming and outgoing, with the overall objective of promoting cooperation between China and other countries in the world.

Richard Armour

Richard ARMOUR has extensive experience in the higher education sector, having served in senior positions in various universities in Hong Kong and other parts of the world. A graduate of the University of Glasgow (Scotland) he then took his PhD at the University of London (England). His research and publications have concentrated principally on higher education policy and management particularly in relation to the student experience.

Dr Armour began his career in Glasgow Caledonian University, the University of Strathclyde and Queen Margaret University of Edinburgh in the UK from 1978 to 1992. In 1992, he took up the post of Director of Academic Planning at the City University of Hong Kong. He became the Registrar of the Open University of Hong Kong in 1996. In 2006, he moved to Australia and joined Griffith University as Academic Registrar. Dr Armour returned to Hong Kong in January 2009 to take up the post of Senior Advisor to the President at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Most recently he was appointed Secretary-General of the University Grants Committee (UGC) in January 2012, in which capacity her currently serves.  

The UGC is the main funding, policy and quality assurance body for Hong Kong’s eight publically funded higher education institutions.

Yang Meng

YANG Meng holds an MSc from Cornell University (USA) and a BA from University of International Business and Economics in Beijing (China). She also studied in the Faculty of Arts and Science, at Queen’s University, for two years on the Student Exchange Agreement between Governments of China and Canada.

Ms Yang has been an assistant professor and lecturer at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. She has worked in the Education Office, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Washington DC, as Third and Second Secretary in mid 1980’s and early 1990’s, responsible for US-China education exchange programmes.

Since October 2000, Ms Yang has been Deputy Secretary-General of China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE). Prior to that, she was Special Assistant to the President, Chinese Service Center for Students Exchange, New York Branch; and Director of the Division of European Affairs, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Education, the People’s Republic of China.

Wang Qi

WANG Qi is an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Education of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China. She received her MA in Education (International Education) and PhD in Education from the University of Bath (England). Her research interests include building world-class universities, skill formation and national development, and comparative and international education. Dr Wang Qi has authored and co-authored a number of publications on topics ranging from national policies on developing world-class and research universities, and graduate employability.

Joshua K. H. Mok

Joshua (Ka Ho) MOK is Chair Professor of Comparative Policy and Associate Vice President (Research and International Exchange) of The Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd). Since 2010, he has been serving at Zhejiang University as Changjiang Chair Professor, a national chair professorship conferred by the Ministry of Education, the People’s Republic of China. He is President of East Asia Social Policy Research Network (EASP), a regional research consortium in promoting social policy research in the Asia-Pacific region, since July 2012 and is also an executive member of Asian Political and International Studies Association (APISA).

Professor Mok has published extensively in the fields of comparative education policy and social development in contemporary China and East Asia. He is a founding editor of Journal of Asian Public Policy and Comparative Development and Policy in Asia Book Series. He is also editor-in-chief of Asian Education and Development Studies. In the last few years, he also worked closely with the World Bank and UNICEF as International Consultant for comparative development and policy studies projects.  Since June 2011, he has been appointed as International Distinguished Expert of Higher Education Studies by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan.

Vito Borrelli

Vito BORRELLI is Head of Sector for the Erasmus Mundus programme in DG Education and Culture (EAC). More specifically, he is in charge of the design, implementation and follow-up of the programme. He is presently involved in the preparation of the next generation of EAC programmes post-2014.

He is also China Desk in EAC, responsible for the coordination of the recently launched EU-China High Level People-to-People Dialogue (HPPD).  He maintains close relations with the EEAS and DEVCO (notably as concerns higher education matters and China-related issues) and is involved in management of studies and surveys. He is very often called to represent the Commission vis-à-vis authorities and institutions in EU and non-EU countries.

Vito has many years of experience at the European Commission, where he has worked since 1994. Before taking up his current responsibilities, he was involved in information and communication activities and the management of the Leonardo da Vinci programme.

Vito has studied Humanities (English/Russian Languages and Literatures) and began his career as a teacher and a translator.

Peter van der Hijden

Peter VAN DER HIJDEN works for the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, in the Skills Unit dealing with Universities and Researchers. Dossiers of the Unit include university funding, human resources strategies, research performance assessment, researchers’ training, -career and -mobility, all contributing to the creation of the ‘Innovation Union’ and the European Research Area (ERA).

Peter has worked for the European Commission in the field of transport (inland waterways), but his main experience lies in higher education and research: the Erasmus Programme, the modernisation agenda for universities, the European Higher Education Area (Bologna Process) and the European Research Area. Peter has studied law at Nymegen, Leyden and Maastricht University. Before moving to Brussels, he worked at the University Council and the Law Research Committee of Maastricht University.

Andrew Disbury

Andrew P. DISBURY is Director of the International Office, Leeds Metropolitan University. His service started since late 2010 and his role at the university represents a strategic re-focusing towards Leeds-bound student recruitment in order to complement earlier successes in internationalisation and transnational education. Andrew is responsible for the university’s international education marketing, student recruitment, and admissions strategies and operations as well as Student Exchanges, Study Abroad and Volunteering activities.

Andrew has a bachelor’s degree in Chinese and French from the University of Leeds, and lived and worked in east China in the early 1980s, studying twice at Shanghai’s Fudan University as a Leeds exchange student and a British Council scholar. He gained an MBA by part-time study and later entered Sheffield Business School’s International Business subject group, where his interests centred on international business culture and environment. A combination of experience in higher education, student recruitment and China led Andrew to the British Council where he was based in Beijing 2001-07.  As regional Director Education in China, Andrew was responsible for supporting bi-lateral education policy development, for bi-lateral education projects between organisations, and for marketing Education UK to prospective Chinese students. 

Before joining the British Council, Andrew was Director of the China Services Centre, based at Sheffield Hallam University. After his appointment at the British Council, he joined the University of St Andrews as Director of Admissions in period 2007-10.

Maggi W. H. Leung

Maggi (W. H.) LEUNG is an associate professor in the Department of Human Geography and Planning at Utrecht University. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she received her BA from Dartmouth College (USA), MA from the University of Minnesota (USA) and doctorate from the University of Bremen (Germany). She has worked at several universities in Hong Kong, Germany and the Netherlands. Currently affiliated with the International Development Studies section, her teaching focuses on globalisation, mobilities and development.

Maggi has been engaged in research covering diverse themes in social, cultural and development geography. At present, her research focuses on mobilities and development, overseas Chinese and transnational communities, academic mobility and the internationalisation of education. She has published widely on these topics and is author of Chinese Migration in Germany: Making Home in Transnational Space (Frankfurt: IKO, 2004). Since she received her doctoral degree in 2002, Maggi has received The Young Researcher Award, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2004-2005), Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany, 2006-2007, 2010) and the Aspasia award (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, 2012).

John Hearn

John P. HEARN is Chief Executive of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN).  He is Vice President (International) of the University of Sydney and Professor of Physiology (Sydney Medical School). Awarded his PhD from the Australian National University (Australia) in reproductive physiology, he has served as a researcher, educator and director of national and international programmes, for 6-7 years each, at the Universities of Edinburgh, University College London, Wisconsin-Madison, the Australian National University and the University of Sydney.

A committed international citizen, he has directed research and capacity development programs in Kenya, Brazil, China, Thailand and India. He is currently Chairman of the Board, Sydney Confucius Institute, and an alternate member of the OECD Board of Institutional Management of Higher Education. He is also a member of the OECD Steering Groups in Internationalisation in Higher Education, and Innovation, Higher Education and Research in Development.     

A keen sportsman, his clubs include Bronte Surf and Life Saving Club, Randwick Rugby Football Club, and the Athenaeum (London). He and Margaret (nee McNair) rejoice in their daughter, four sons and six grandchildren.

Bernd Wächter

Bernd WÄCHTER is the Director of the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA). He studied at the universities of Hull (UK), Giessen and Marburg (Germany). His career has been focused on international higher education. He worked for the University of Kassel, the British Council, and the Fachhochschule Darmstadt, before joining The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) as the head of their EU division. He subsequently became the director for Higher Education (Erasmus) in the Brussels Socrates Office. In 1998, he took up his present post as ACA Director.

Bernd Wächter has published and lectured widely on international higher education. He is the editor of the ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Education. He has been the team leader of ACA’s research projects and speaks frequently at major governmental and stakeholder conferences, in Europe and beyond, on the issue of mobility and internationalisation.  

Bernd Wächter has two children. He is married to Thora Magnusdottir, a delightful lady from Iceland.


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