On December 6 and 7, the president of Southeast University Zhang Guangjun led a visiting delegation to United Kingdom, and attended the fifth meeting of high-level culture exchange mechanism between China and United Kingdom. President Zhang Guangjun also met the president of Queen’s University Belfast. They had a further communication and signed a memorandum of cooperation between the two universities. This visit was accompanied by dean of School of Energy and Environment, Xiao Rui, associate dean of School of Electronic Science and Engineering, Sun Litao, deputy director of International Cooperation Department, Ye Zhirui.
In the afternoon of December 7, the fifth meeting of high-level culture exchange mechanism between China and United kingdom was held in London. This meeting was co-hosted by vice premier of the State Council, Liu Yandong, and the health minister of UK, Hunter. President Zhang Guangjun was invited to attend this meeting. In front of vice-premier Liu Yandong and minister Hunter, president Zhang Guangjun and president of Queen‘s university Belfast signed <Common Declaration of Establishing an Alliance for Engineering Education and Research between the Universities of China and UK>. This declaration is the only agreement of university level which is signed in this meeting. It marks the official establishment of the alliance for engineering education and research between the universities of China and UK. At the same time, the establishment of alliance is also included in annual achievement of culture exchange mechanism between China and UK. It shows that the the Chinese and British governments highly recognize and strongly support the establishment of this alliance.
In the morning of December 7, president Zhang Guangjun met with Professor James McElnay, president of the Queen's University of Belfast, at the headquarters of the Russell Group in London. During the talks, president Zhang first thanked James McElnay for his efforts in bringing the signing of declaration to the meeting of culture exchange mechanism, and suggested three proposals about their future cooperation: first, we should further promote various work of the alliance for engineering education and research. We should put the emphasis on developing student summer vacation school program and hold a forum for the presidents of the university members next year. Second, we should focus on the communication and exchange of students of two universities, and increase the exchange places and widen the subject and field of exchange. Third, we should further strengthen the openness of alliance , we should invite more top universities of China and UK in the future. President Zhang's proposal was highly recognized and responded by principal James McElnay. After the talks, President Zhang Guangjun and President McElnay James signed a memorandum of cooperation between two universities.
During his visit to Britain, President Zhang Guangjun also visited the alumni of Southeast University in London area. He met Wang Ying, educational counsellor of Chinese consular post in Manchester, and held a high-end talent meeting in Imperial College London. Nearly 30 students and scholars from top British colleges and universities such as University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, University of London, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of Birmingham, etc., participated in the meeting. President Zhang introduced the development of Southeast University to them, answered a series of questions which they concerned about, and wished them to be leading figure which has both patriotic feeling and international vision, to return to their motherland and devote themselves to the development of China.
It is reported that high-level culture exchange mechanism between China and United Kingdom was reached in June 2011 when premier Wen Jiabao visited Britain and met with prime minister Cameron. It aims to promote the cooperation between two countries in the fields of education , culture, youth , media and others. This mechanism has become the third anchor of China-UK relations after China-UK economic dialogue and strategic dialogue. The alliance of engineering education and research between the University of China and UK is the first university alliance with the characteristics of engineering education and research established by China and the UK. On May 25, 2017, the signing ceremony of the alliance of engineering education and research between Southeast University and the Queen's University of Belfast was held in Nanjing. Nine Chinese universities with their characteristics of engineering and six British universities from the Russell (University) Group signed a memorandum of alliance cooperation. The Chinese universities include Southeast University, Beijing Institute of Technology, Chongqing University, Dalian University of Technology, Harbin Institute Of Technology, Northwestern Polytechnical University, South China University Of Technology, Tianjin University, and Tongji University. The Secretariat of the alliance is located at Southeast University. The British universities include Queen's University of Belfast, University of Birmingham, Cardiff University, University of London, University of Nottingham, and University of Warwick. The Secretariat of the alliance is located at the Queen's University of Belfast.