On February 12-17 VMU delegation visited three academic institutions in the People’s Republic of China: Minzu University, Tianjin International Culture Institute and China Institute of International Studies.  During the meetings VMU delegation discussed the possibilities to create a joint degree program in the field of East Asian studies, possibilities for students’ and teachers’ exchange, collaboration in academic research.

On February 14 in  Minzu University  (Beijing) the agreement for international exchange and the memorandum of collaboration were signed. These agreements will open new possibilities for students’ and academic exchange. Minzu University is established for the ethnic minorities of China and it focuses on cultural, philosophical and religious research of ethnic minorities, which makes this institution unique. This is the first bilateral agreement between VMU and the institution of higher education from the People’s Republic of China.

On February 15 long discussions regarding the collaboration were held at Tianjin International Culture Institute. Collaboration with this institution will improve the quality of Chinese language and Chinese culture related course teaching in VMU East Asian languages and cultures program and  East Asian studies program. For this purpose delegation members discussed the possibilities to invite lecturers from China, to organize joint summer schools, to encourage Chinese students to study at VMU.

On February 16 the official meeting was held at China Institute of International Studies with the vice-president of the Institute prof. Youfa Liu, as well as representatives from other units of the Institute. This Institute, which was visited under the recommendation of the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in China, is one of governmental research centers that contributes to the formation of China’s foreign policy and acts as one of public diplomacy units. During the reception prof. Liu promised to collaborate with VMU in sharing information about the events, developing students’ and teachers’ exchange and organizing joint research.

“All the meetings were even  more fruitful than we’d expected,- said one of delegation members, Dean of the Faculty of Political Science and Diplomacy prof. Šarūnas Liekis, – After visiting the present and potential academic partners in China, we understood that this country is of special importance to us, therefore it is necessary to further develop collaboration by strengthening East Asian studies at our university.”

The trip to China was funded by EU project “Feasibility Study for Internationalization Development of Asian Studies at VMU”. The main aim of the project is to explore the possibilities for the creation of joint degree program in the field of East Asian studies and to sign related memorandums with potential partner universities. This feasibility study will help not only to identify the necessity and possibilities for JDP creation, but will also contribute to the establishment of new relations as well as alternative collaboration spheres such as academic exchange, joint research and projects. Delegation members can develop newly established relations and initiate further collaboration in different academic fields.