Head of AUT Corporate and Government Relations Nigel Murphy, along with AUT Chinese Centre Manager Marlene Lu, joined Education Minister Hon Chris Hipkins on a ministerial visit to China this week to affirm the Strategic Education Partnership between China and New Zealand.
Over a four-day visit to Beijing and Guangzhou, three strategic agreement documents were signed, reaffirming AUT's commitment to fostering and maintaining partnerships in the region.
The first of these was the AUT-SAFEA Overseas Training Cooperation Framework Agreement.
As a State Council administrative agency SAFEA is responsible for certifying foreign experts to work in mainland China and arranging overseas training for Chinese technical and managerial professionals. AUT was one of SAFEA's earliest overseas training partners in New Zealand and has run a series of programmes for Chinese citizens since 2000. The official signing of the AUT-SAFEA agreement in Beijing on 16 July formally reaffirms AUT's accreditation as an official overseas training partner.
A Memorandum of Understanding which reconfirms the partnership between AUT and Guangdong University of Technology (GDUT) was also signed.
The collaboration started with joint research and joint staff exchange initiatives in the engineering field starting in 2003. Over the past three years, AUT’s School of Art and Design has also enjoyed reciprocal visits and staff exchanges with GDUT. The agreement between AUT and GDUT renews the existing memorandum of understanding for a further five years.
In Guangzhou, AUT joined representatives from Chinese education institutes for an Academic Colleges Group (ACG) event at the New Zealand Consulate-General. An AGC agent workshop saw representatives from both large and regional-focused agencies meet to discuss education partnerships between New Zealand and China.
Nigel hosted a presentation which highlighted AUT's existing partnership with ACG and the support we offer to our international students. The workshop was followed by a signing ceremony with Minister Hipkins and the Acting Consul-General in attendance, confirming AUT as an official trading partner of the Chinese Government.
The formal agreements help solidify AUT's position as a global university that nurtures international student achievement and encourages collaboration with education providers overseas.