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WHU President Dou Xiankang delivers keynote speech at Chinese-Foreign University Presidents Forum
Author:Xing Zhibo  Date:2022-10-19  Clicks:

The Chinese-Foreign University Presidents Forum, one of the important activities for the 70th anniversary of Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), was held on October 6. President of Wuhan University (WHU) Dou Xiankang delivered an online speech themed ‘The era of big upheavals and strategic options for university development’.

Chinese-Foreign University Presidents Forum held at HUST

President Dou delivering a speech

In the speech, President Dou pointed out that the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. Changes across the world, the times, and history are creating new requirements for the development of higher education, bringing both opportunities and challenges. As the highland of human civilization and the lighthouse of social progress, universities should accurately grasp the trend of world development, national growth, and socio-economic development. Moreover, he mentioned that universities should grasp the development law of higher education, adhere to essential academic foundations, and fulfill the fundamental task of fostering virtues and cultivating people based on intrinsic requirements of development. Adhering to unchanging values and mission, strategically promoting high-quality development, and better leading the progress of the times with new educational achievements under the ‘Double First-Class’ project are further new requirements for universities, Dou added.

Taking current practices at WHU into consideration, President Dou outlined three strategic options available to universities coping with the challenges of the times.

Firstly, universities should be committed, fully implement the essential mission of fostering virtues and cultivating people and develop students’ core capability of adapting to social changes. As President Xi Jinping emphasizes, only if a university fosters top talents can it become a world-class university. In recent years, WHU has focused closely on actively exploring the talent training model to adapt to the times and devoting itself to cultivating comprehensive talents. For example, by setting up the ‘Hongyi Honor College’ to further promote the training of top talents and carrying out broad-based admission, classified schooling and interdisciplinary training, WHU not only helps students build a solid foundation but also boosts their individual development. What’s more, WHU has elaborately built a general education curriculum system that combines humanistic spirit, scientific spirit, and Chinese spirit, thus improving students’ capability of knowledge mastery, value judgment, logical analysis, and lifelong learning. Last but not least, WHU explores the entrepreneurial talent training model integrated with professional education by deepening the reform of innovation education in order to cultivate students’ innovation awareness and ability.

Secondly, Dou stressed that universities should adhere to the original intention of  promoting academic innovation and lead the development of the times with significant original innovations. In today’s world, technical innovation has become the major battlefield of the international strategic game, and the competition is becoming unprecedentedly intense. Universities need not only handle real problems with technological innovation, but also lead the forefront of scientific development with significant breakthroughs in basic research. They must not only underpin social development with academic research but also promote the progress of human civilization with profound knowledge. These years, WHU has concentrated on strengthening the construction of basic subjects and improving the ability of original innovation, aiming at forward-looking, strategic, cutting-edge basic research and ‘bottleneck’ key core technologies. In addition, by implementing the ‘first-class discipline plan’ and ‘strategic cutting-edge subject development plan’, WHU actively promotes the development of basic subjects and pioneering cutting-edge interdisciplinary disciplines. Furthermore, by means of enhancing the construction of high-quality talents and teams, which increases the investment in fundamental research and major infrastructure projects like ‘Wuhan Light Source’, WHU is striving to produce more breakthrough achievements in key fields.

Thirdly, universities should also choose a first-class university road in accordance with their own features while serving the development of our nation. President Xi Jinping emphasizes the building of a world-class university with our own Chinese features rooted in our own practices and creating our unique development road, rather than simply imitating or following the models of universities overseas. Universities clarify their own position and choose their development road deliberately when facing the new period and situation of higher education development. Meanwhile, they also ought to keep close to the national strategic major direction, cutting-edge field of disciplines, and world-class level. These years, concentrating on major theoretical and practical issues that are comprehensive, strategic and focused on the development of economy and society, and based on traditional advantages in philosophy and social science, WHU plays an active role as a think tank in promoting Chinese civilization, safeguarding territorial sovereignty and participating in global governance. In various areas of strength like mapping and remote sensing, space-sky information, life and health sciences, and food safety, WHU has produced a series of significant achievements at the international level. More importantly, after the outbreak of COVID-19, WHU fully took advantage of basic scientific research and integrated disciplines, met the demand for prevention, control, and treatment with science and technology, and proposed suggestions targeting strongpoints, and offering intellectual support to fight against the epidemic.

At the end of his speech, Dou stressed that ‘change’ will continue to be the most distinctive theme of the times in the near future. Universities should grasp opportunities, stick to their mission and values, sharpen their core competitiveness and persistently promote high-quality development, thus realizing the transformation from adapting to the era to leading the development of the times.

It is reported that the forum was themed ‘higher education and sustainable development’. Presidents from the University of Queensland, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Manchester, Nagoya University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Wuhan University, Wuhan University of Technology, Chongqing University and other universities attended this activity online and gave keynote speeches.

Rewritten by Gao Fei.

Edited by Li Jing, Qin Shihan, Xi Bingqing, Sylvia


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