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Double insight and double outcome

Higher Education Minister Morten Østergaard's speech at the Sino-Danish Centre for Education and Research in Beijing, China, 18 September 2013.

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Dear UCAS representatives, dear faculty – and not least; dear students.

I am happy and proud to be here today on the occasion of the startup of three new Master Programmes at the Sino-Danish Centre for Education and Research.

The Sino-Danish Centre for Education and Research - or SDC - is the most ambitious Danish educational venture abroad ever. And it is an eminent example of cooperation between Denmark and China.

So allow me to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone involved in this cooperation.

And to all you students - Chinese, Danish and other nationalities; I congratulate you on your decision to study at SDC.

You have made a clever choice. You attend university to become wiser. You are here because you are extremely curious. And you attend university, to get the best opportunities to prosper in your future career.

But I would say that studying at SDC provides you with an additional advantage.

Because on top of excellent Master’s Programmes - you can add global outlook, knowledge of culture and language.

As an SDC-student you will have the opportunity to specialize in a specific subject and at the same time gain competencies in cultural understanding. You get double insight - and double outcome.

In a world with expanding exchange between East and West the need for graduates with broad cultural understanding is increasing rapidly. The cultural competences you achieve here combined with the excellent academic skills are in high demand in a globalized world.

I am convinced that your pioneering spirit will be rewarded.

When you get your master's degree, you will be the best ambassadors for Danish interests in China and Chinese interests in Denmark.

Doors will be open to you - both in business and in research.

Differences - but common challenges

SDC is now offering seven unique Master's Programmes jointly developed by Danish and Chinese research environments.

And this year, 48 courageous and farsighted young people have decided to leave family and friends in Denmark to study their master here in China. And similarly, a large number of Chinese students have chosen to improve their skills to work in a global reality.

Danish and Chinese students have different backgrounds and different ways of approaching the studies.

This diversity is a challenge. But a challenge you can learn from. And I have no doubt that the diversity will contribute to make SDC a vibrant, creative and stimulating place to study.

It is valuable for Danish students to get a better understanding of Chinese culture. And it is valuable for Chinese students to get a better understanding of Danish and European culture.

We need to know each other.

The most famous Dane in China is Hans Christian Andersen or An tu sheng. An tu sheng is known by practically all Chinese.

You cannot get through school in China without becoming acquainted with fairytales like 'The Little Match Girl' or 'The Ugly Duckling'.

But what do Danes know about China?

We know that China is a key player on the world map both in terms of trade but also in science and education. But we would like to know more – and go deeper.

And we would also like China to know more about Denmark.

Denmark and China are very different in size, language and in history.

Here in Beijing you are more than 20 million people – that is almost four times the number of the population in Denmark.

Denmark ranks number 109 on the list of the world’s countries in terms of population. China is number one.

We are different. But we are both part of a global world - a world that faces a number of great societal challenges: Increasing population, resource scarcity, energy shortage and climate change. And both Denmark and China address these major challenges.

To meet the challenges we need innovation. We need research and education. And we need international cooperation.

That is why both countries invest so much in these areas.

Since the mid-1990’s, China has multiplied its investments in research and education. A prognosis shows that 35 percent of all the world's students in 2035 will be Chinese. China is a rising superpower in the world of research and education.

In Denmark - it is the government's ambition to create the best educated generation in our history. We invest more in research and education than ever before. And we have a clear focus on the societal challenges.

The vision is that Denmark should be a society with a green economy.

We are very committed to find solutions for sustainable energy production. For reduction in environmental and climate impacts. And for healthy and safe food production and clean water.

China is also deeply involved in finding solutions to these challenges.

And I have no doubt that exchanging ideas and knowledge in a global context marked by mutual interdependence will be rewarding for both Denmark and China.

So there are very good reasons for us to get to know each other better.

There are very good reasons that we cooperate.

This is why SDC is such a good and forward-looking
initiative.

A unique platform

It is a fantastic strength that all Danish universities are united behind SDC.

And I am very happy with the excellent cooperation with the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

It is obviously important for SDC's success that there is a good physical environment.

And we are very pleased that SDC has initially been installed temporarily in UCAS 'existing facilities here in downtown Beijing. But we also look forward to inaugurating SDC’s own building in the future. 

SDC offers new and exciting possibilities.

However, it is inevitable that we encounter some teething troubles when developing a new institution such as this. It is a project in constant development. And we are not there yet.

It is important that we make sure that the academic programmes are of the very highest standards. That we offer excellent research-based teaching. And that students have access to top-notch facilities and adequate academic counselling.  

Rome – as we know – was not built in one day. Or as I am told you say in China – “this is the first step in a long journey”.

So it is important that we listen to feed-back from you, our first student.

I am therefore very happy to have the opportunity to sit down with student representatives today to discuss your experiences here at SDC. Listening to you is the best way to make sure that SDC moves in the right direction.

Let us not forget, that The Sino-Danish Centre is a unique collaboration between Denmark and China.

And it is an excellent platform:

  • To increase mobility of students and researchers between Denmark and China
  • To strengthen linkages between research, education, and private companies in Denmark and China.
  • And not least to increase cultural understanding between Denmark and China.

The potential of SDC is outstanding. And I trust you all will help to accomplish these ambitions.

I wish all of you some wonderful years here at SDC.

Thank you.

last modified Dec 11, 2015