16.05.2012 - ODG

Honors and Projects on the University Circuit

© UNESCO/ Cynthia GuttmanUNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova with Hainan University President Li Jianbao (left) and Mr Zhang Xinsheng, President of the University Council, with students and faculty, China May 2012

During her visit to the People’s Republic of China, the Director-General was named honorary professor at Tongji University in Shanghai, honorary chairperson of the Hainan University Council and she also discussed opportunities for strengthening cooperation in the sciences with Zhejiang University in Hangzhou.

The President of Tongji University, Mr. Gang Pei, drew attention to his institution’s commitment to promoting sustainable development, through projects and trans disciplinary courses encompassing science and the humanities that are open to students from all faculties.  Expressing pride upon becoming an honorary professor at such a prestigious university, Irina Bokova also encouraged the faculty to propose a chair in the field of sustainability, explaining UNESCO’s vision ahead of the Rio+20 conference.

At Zhejiang University, the third oldest in China and ranked the country’s best in 2011, the Director-General expressed her full support for the institution’s plan to establish an “International Knowledge Center of Engineering Sciences and Technology” under the auspices of UNESCO.  “Through its development China has accumulated extensive about engineering science that we are ready to share with the world,” explained Mr. Yunhe Pan, executive vice president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.  The Director-General underlined the importance of a better interface between science and policy, and to engineering as one of the pillars of science, innovation and technology. “Such a center will bring the right message at the right time and stands to make a big contribution towards building knowledge societies.”

The University also presented its digitization program launched in 2003 – CADAL. Comprising more than 2.5 million items, it is now one of the largest non-profit collections of digitized books in the world.

In China’s southernmost Hainan Province, the Director-General was officially nominated honorary chairperson of the Hainan University Council. With some 33,000 full-time students, the University specializes in tropical agriculture, maritime studies, tourism and law.  The Council, appointed by the Governor of the Province, is charged with guiding the University’s development at a time of rapid social and economic transformation. Hainan is China’s first and largest special economic zone and has experienced rapid growth in the past two decades. The University aims to strengthen international exchanges and to support the Province’s effort in becoming a hub of international sustainable tourism.


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