Three decades-long partnership reaffirmed as University of Leicester hosts China delegation

Posted by: Jamie Sharp - Posted on:

The University of Leicester has welcomed a delegation from the Chongqing Municipal People’s Government, led by Vice Mayor Mr Dan Yanzheng, to celebrate Chongqing’s relationship with the city and the University.

Chongqing has been twinned with the city of Leicester since 1993 and close ties between the cities have been established, including a prestigious partnership between the University of Leicester and one of China’s leading universities, Chongqing Medical University (CQMU).

The University of Leicester and CQMU partner on a Joint Educational Programme in Clinical Sciences (awarded by the University of Leicester) and Clinical Medicine (awarded by CQMU). The programme provides an option for students to undertake a year of study at the University of Leicester.

During the visit, the delegation met with students from Chongqing who are currently studying in Leicester and heard about how they are enjoying their experience studying medicine at the University. Leaders from the programme updated the delegation on the success of the programme and a mutual desire from the institutions to further develop the partnership.

The programme including discussion of the University’s research during the Covid-19 pandemic and how the University is leading major studies on ‘Long Covid’ and ethnic health, the University’s role in the discovery of King Richard III and how this had increased tourism in the city, and the University’s strength in space research and how its partnership with the National Space Centre supports tourism and future careers in space.

A lunch was held at the Grand Hotel in Leicester to celebrate 30 years since the twinning agreement between Chongqing and the city was signed. The delegation was formally received by the Lord Mayor of Leicester, Councillor Dr Susan Barton, and a photo exhibition was presented showing images from the city of Chongqing. 

The delegation was hosted at the University by the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, Professor Philip Baker, who has strong links with the city having been awarded the ‘Chongqing Friendship of the City Award’ for his achievements in running a pregnancy research centre in Chongqing and being appointed a National Distinguished Professor by the Chinese Government.

Professor Baker said: “I was truly honoured to welcome the delegation from the Chongqing Municipal People’s Government, led by Vice Mayor Mr Dan Yanzheng. Chongqing holds a special place in my life from the time I spent in the city and the visit was like meeting up with old friends again. Chongqing is an exceptional city and through the University’s existing partnership with CQMU and further opportunities for partnership, we are demonstrating the benefits of global cooperation in education and research.”

Lord Mayor Councillor Dr Susan Barton said: “The opportunity to meet with the visitors from Chongqing was a real pleasure. I’d heard a lot about the city as it is twinned with Leicester, but the spectacular scenery displayed in the wonderful photos showed me the magnificent beauty of the city and surrounding region.”The visit followed a successful visit by the University to Chongqing – as well as other parts of China – led by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nishan Canagarajah, in November 2023, which strengthened ties between the University and city.