Elite German University celebrates opening of China Center

Updated: 2016-04-23 00:15

By Vincent Fan in Tübingen, Germany(chinadaily.com.cn)

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Elite German University celebrates opening of China Center

Professor Tu Weiming presents calligraphy to China Centre Tübingen. [Photo by Vincent Fan/chinadaily.com.cn]

One of Germany's most prestigious universities set up a trail-blazing new academic hub for China studies to foster awareness of contemporary China and dialogue between the two countries.

At the opening ceremony of the China Centre Tübingen (CCT) by the University of Tübingen, CCT Director, Professor Dr. Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer said: "Our mission is to deepen trust between Germany and China."

He said as the world is facing tremendous new changes and conflicts over a large number issues, Germany and China must understand and engage each other more than ever before rather than just describe or watch each other.

Sponsored by the Karl Schlecht Foundation (KSG), CCT is a transdisciplinary institute dedicated to undertaking research with real-world applications, and serving students, research, business and NGO communities, as well as the general public, according to Schmidt-Glintzer.

Dr. Mathias Niedenführ, CCT Deputy Director, told China Daily that the center will not model itself as a thinktank like many institutes, which primarily cater to researchers, policy makers or government agencies. "What we are going to do is to build a hub to provide opportunities for students of all disciplines, such as law, literature, biology or whatever, as well as the general public, to learn about China so as to make them 'China competent' in the future, he said.

Karl Schlecht, a veteran German entrepreneur and philanthropist, who is a sponsor of CCT, said his objective was simple: make as many Germans understand China as possible. "Despite the strong and close relations between the two countries, many Germans are still very ignorant of China."

Schlecht, who also funded the Institute of World Ethos at Peking University in 2012, said he wanted to see CCT help foster a new crop of German entrepreneurs, academics and businessmen with competent knowledge about China.

The ceremony, attended by 200 people on Wednesday, concluded with a keynote speech by Professor Tu Weiming, of Harvard Yenching Institute and Peking University. On behalf of Peking University, he presented CCT with a bottle of Chinese liquor Maotai and a roll of calligraphy by well-known contemporary Chinese painters Fan Zeng.

Established in 1477, the University of Tübingen is one of the oldest universities in Europe, whose students included astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) and philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831).