Students from Flinders courses in China who have travelled to Adelaide for their graduation are helping to build influential connections between Australia and China, according to Associate Professor Curt Andressen.
For the first time, 14 graduates from the Master of Arts (International Relations in Economy and Trade) taught with Nankai University in Tianjin and four graduates of the Master of Education taught with Capital Normal University in Beijing are attending the on-campus ceremonies this week.
“Such contact creates a profound person-to-person connection that can last a lifetime and create strong bonds of trust and cooperation between students and their educational institution,” said Associate Professor Andressen, course co-ordinator of the joint MA with Nankai.
“It can be seen as a continuation of the kind of profound connections that were created under the Colombo Plan that started in the 1950s, when a generation of leaders in Southeast Asia were influenced by Australia and Australians.
“This kind of deep connection is invaluable, particularly in the case of China, which will figure prominently in Australia’s future for the decades ahead.”
Flinders is the only university in the world to teach four joint postgraduate courses in China.
The Master of Arts (International Relations in Economy and Trade) [MA(IRET)] is the University’s longest-running course in China, commenced in 2000.
The MA(IRET) was nominated as a benchmark by the Chinese Ministry of Education in 2010, effectively placing it in the top 10 of joint programs of around 700 run in China by overseas universities at the time.
The MA(IRET) was also permitted to double its intake, and as of 2012 enrols 240 students each year, who are taught in a number Chinese cities. The students attending the Flinders ceremony come from Beijing and Hangzhou.
The Masters of Education (MEd) has been taught in China since 2004 and over that time has produced 400 graduates.
MEd course co-ordinator Professor Rosalind Murray-Harvey said the four graduates from the eighth cohort of MEd students had taken the opportunity to make their first visit to Australia with members of their families to attend the Flinders graduation, reflecting the esteem in which they hold the University.
Flinders holds annual graduation ceremonies in Nankai and Beijing for the graduates of its joint courses.
In addition to two other postgraduate courses – the Master of Hospital Administration and the Master of Educational Leadership and Management, run with Nankai University – Flinders also offers two undergraduate degrees, in business and in digital media, with the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
The University’s alumni in China and Hong Kong currently number around 3300.