The contribution of Chinese students to local communities report

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A survey report released last week indicates that the Chinese population of Nottingham has increased from fewer than 2,000 in 2001 to more than 10,000 in 2011. This expansion, according to Dr. Bin Wu, the author of the survey report and Senior Research Fellow in the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies (SCCS) at the University of Nottingham, is one outcome of the internationalisation of higher education over the last decade.

To promote university engagement with local communities and raise awareness of  the contribution of international students to local communities, a whole day ESRC Festival of Social Science Workshop was held on 6 November 2013 at the Si Yuan Centre, new home of the SCCS at Jubilee Campus.

With a focus on Chinese communities in the UK, this Workshop attracted more than 70 attendants from London, Manchester, Sheffield, Leicester and beyond, who represented the wider community from local councils, civil society organisations, business leaders, Chinese community representatives, university teachers and students.

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The event was opened by Councillor Merlita Bryan, Lord Mayor of Nottingham and Mr Shen Yang, Ministry Counsellor for Education of the Chinese Embassy in London together with Chris Rudd, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham.

Keynote speaker, Professor Ted Cantle MBE, Founder of the Institute of Community Cohesion, highlighted the importance of interculturalism for global universities in fostering the engagement of all students, local and international students, in local community projects.

Based upon a survey of the Nottingham Chinese community carried out this summer, Dr. Bin Wu, the  founder and convenor of the Centre for Chinese Migration Studies (CCMS) used the theme phrase  Nottingham’s Chinese Community Cohesion and Integration to summarise his survey findings and policy recommendations. The key message from this report is the increasing impact of Chinese student societies and the relevant university schools on the local Chinese community on the one hand, and Universities play a vital role in promoting ethnic community cohesion and integration by supporting staff and students to engage with local communities.

The workshop ended with a number of concrete suggestions and actions to enhance the links and collaboration between universities, local communities and ethnic groups for mutual benefit to both international students and local communities.

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Please contact Dr. Bin Wu ([email protected]) directly if you would like to provide comments or receive a copy of the survey report:  Nottingham Chinese Community in Transition: A survey of community cohesion, integration and university engagement.

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