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Peking University delegation visits Switzerland and France
Jan 26, 2023
Peking University, January 26, 2023: From January 13 to 20, a Peking University delegation led by Academician Gong Qihuang, president of Peking University, visited Switzerland and France to attend a series of international events, including the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) Presidents' Meeting 2023, the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2023, and the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF). The delegation also visited University of Paris-Saclay, École Polytechnique, and Thales Group, and met with Lu Shaye, Chinese Ambassador to France.

During the visits, PKU President Gong Qihuang attended the IARU Presidents' Meeting 2023, which was held at ETH Zürich  from January 14 to 15. On behalf of Peking University, he expressed his views on the development strategies of Peking University and the status of higher education in China with his counterparts. 

Gong pointed out that over the past three years, the COVID-19 outbreak has posed great challenges to universities around the world, during which period Peking University has actively resorted to information technology to build an education system propped by digitalization and intellectualization. He hoped that universities at the meeting could strengthen exchanges in the field of digital and intelligent education, so as to jointly promote the transformation and development of global higher education. Presidents present at the meeting also discussed the response to the new international situation for universities.

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PKU delegation at the IARU Presidents' Meeting 2023

From January 16 to 17, President Guang Qihuang attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2023 and the subsequent Global University Leaders Forum (GULF), and engaged in discussions of the new model of international cooperation in higher education with experts from leading universities in the world, including the University of Chicago, University of Tokyo, ETH Zürich, National University of Australia, and National University of Singapore, etc. 

Gong pointed out that as the world gradually emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, bolstering international exchanges and cooperation remains the trend of the times, even though mankind still faces many shared challenges.

To this end, President Gong highlighted, Peking University has been committed to promoting mutual learning and trust between China and the world by holding international academic conferences such as the Beijing Forum, promoting international exchanges among teachers and students, and carrying out cooperation on international scientific research. 

During the meeting, President Gong Qihuang met with Prof. Klaus Schwab, founder of the WEF. President Gong extended his gratitude for the latter’s long-term support to Peking University and proposed for in-depth cooperation with the WEF in the future. Klaus echoed the proposal and stressed that China’s economic and educational progress is of great significance to the world. Prof. Klaus also expressed that he looked forward to conducting more cooperation with Peking University in the future.

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President Gong Qihuang and Prof. Klaus Schwab

On January 18, the delegation visited the University of Paris-Saclay upon arrival in France, during which President Gong met with his counterpart President Estelle Iacona. The two sides reviewed the cooperation between the two universities and conducted in-depth discussions on exchanges among teachers and students and potential cooperation in the academic fields, including mathematics, physics, medicine and other disciplines. 

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Group photo between Peking University and Paris-Saclay University

At École Polytechnique, President Gong met with President Eric Labaye and Prof. Gérard Mourou, Nobel Prize laureate in physics, who is also an honorary doctor of Peking University. During the meeting, Gong reviewed the two universities’ history of cooperation, in particular the double-degree programs in mathematics. He hoped that in the future, the two sides can further improve the implementation mechanism of the current program and extend this platform to other disciplines and fields. President Gong also looked forward to seeing Prof. Gérard Mourou visit Peking University for the foreseeable future.

In his visit to Thales Group, President Gong met with CTO and Senior Vice President Marko Erman and the two discussed the project of laser driven multi-beam facility. Gong noted that signed in the presence of the leaders of China and France, the project can not only give full play to the advantages of Thales in high-power laser systems, but also strongly support China’s construction of the world’s leading scientific facilities. The two sides also looked forward to jointly building labs and expanding the breadth and depth of future cooperation. 
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President Gong Qihuang and President of École Polytechnique Eric Labaye 

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President Gong Qihuang and Marko Erman, CTO of Thales Group

During their stay in France, President Gong Qihuang led the delegation to visit Lu Shaye at the Chinese Embassy in France. Gong thanked Lu for his great support to Peking University and expressed that Peking University will continue to strengthen exchanges with French universities. Ambassador Lu hoped that as one of the top universities in China, Peking University can continuously conduct academic cooperation with institutions in France and other countries in Europe, and display the image of China in the academic field.

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Group photo of President Gong Qihuang and Ambassador Lu Shaye

As the first foreign trip of the Peking University delegation since the COVID-19 pandemic, the trip has fully enhanced the friendly relationships between Peking University and other top universities and important cooperative partners, expanded the University’s exchanges and cooperation in multiple fields, and promoted mutual understanding and exchanges between Peking University and the rest of the world.

Written by: Fu Jiaqi
Edited by: Meng Bin
Source: Office of International Relations