First cohort begins study in unique Keele-China diplomacy partnership

A new international diplomacy programme jointly delivered by Keele University and Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) in China has welcomed its first 80 students with a day of celebrations.

The International Governance and Public Policy degree programme, the first of its kind on diplomacy that is designed and delivered collaboratively through a partnership between two Chinese and UK higher education institutions, is an interdisciplinary course combining elements of three subjects including international relations and diplomacy, international business, and international law.

BFSU, China’s oldest foreign language teaching university, hosted an opening ceremony on October 29 for the new students and their families. Chinese and British government officials attended the ceremony in Beijing along with Keele’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Trevor McMillan, Dean of Internationalisation Professor Richard Luther, Director of Research, Innovation and Engagement Dr Mark Bacon, and Professor of International Relations John Vogler.

The four-year undergraduate programme will help meet the Chinese government’s ambitions to develop talented graduates who will be able to represent the country effectively in the area of diplomacy, foreign affairs, economic and cultural exchanges, and communication. The course also responds to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a £760bn plan to connect Asia, Africa and Europe.

The partnership will build on expertise at both BFSU and Keele in international relations and diplomacy. The students will study at Keele University during their third year, drawing on Keele’s interdisciplinary tradition, by taking modules in Keele’s School of Law, Keele Management School, and the School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment (SPIRE).

Professor Robert Ladrech, Head of SPIRE, said: “These are exciting times for the School. We are very proud to have launched the new BA in International Governance and Public Policy in collaboration with BFSU, a top Chinese university which boasts over 400 ambassadors amongst its alumni. This new programme reflects our commitment to an integrated and truly global approach to our teaching and research activities and in offering an outstanding student experience.”

Professor McMillan said: “I would like to thank BFSU for hosting a wonderful welcome celebration for the new cohort of students. It was a real pleasure to see where our joint students will be studying for their first two years, and we’re looking forward to welcoming them to Keele in 2021.

“Keele is committed to developing high quality partnerships in China to enable collaborative research and teaching, and to also support staff and student mobility.”

Vice President of BFSU Professor Dezhong Jia said: “BFSU is known as ‘China’s Cradle of Diplomats’ and boasts a unique strength in running diplomacy programmes. BFSU is highly committed to this collaborative education programme, as it represents a bold innovation on cultivating Chinese diplomats and can introduce high-quality educational resources from other countries.”


Tell us what you think of this news story on Twitter using #KeeleComment