Budapest is set to host the first foreign campus of a Chinese university in Eastern Europe. Hungarian innovation minister László Palkovics signed a memorandum of understanding with Xu Ningsheng, president of Shanghai-based Fudan University, under the witness of Madam Jiao Yang, Chairperson of Fudan University Council, back in December of 17, of 2019.
The Hungarian government hopes that the presence of the campus to be built in Budapest will help transform the country into a “regional knowledge hub”. The Hungarian government also cites the “outstanding research record” of Fudan, affirming that the new campus will “enhance” the educational standards of Hungarian universities. This could be vital for Hungary’s economy.
A spokesperson for the Hungarian government said that the Chinese government views the new campus in Hungary as “a priority project of bilateral cooperation.”
“The initiative is equally in line with the policy of easterly opening, the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, and the goals of the cultural, scientific and educational treaty between the two countries which was renewed last November,” the spokesperson said.
Fudan University is ranked 40th in the QS World University Ranking. The University has more than 4,500 lecturers who teach around 30,000 students.
Additionally, Fudan University has previously partnered with the Corvinus University of Budapest in offering a double MBA program.
Hungary will provide land, teaching and research facilities for the new campus in Budapest, as well as legal and administrative support. Meanwhile, Fudan University will aspire to offer novel majors catering to local and European contexts. It will hone in on emerging interdisciplinary foci, thereby facilitating research, as well as training programs, thus promoting high-tech innovation in Hungary.
In commenting on the future campus, László Palkovics was positive, in terms of Fudan University’s presence in Hungary, as this higher education hub will be able to offer Hungarian students global insights. In terms of the curriculum, ideas on big data, science and technology, finance, language and cultures are what is hoped for, by Palkovics.
In terms of the history of Fudan University, it was established in 1905 as Fudan Public School. It serves as the first institution of higher education that was founded by a Chinese individual. The two characters, fù meaning “return” and dàn meaning “dawn” were borrowed from A Commentary on The Classic of History （《尚书大传·虞夏传》).
It builds on the part on the Yu and the Xia dynasties, which mentions: “Brilliant are the sunshine and moonlight, again the morning radiance returns at dawn.”
In 1917, the institution was renamed as Fudan University.
In terms of statistics, there are currently 13, 623 undergraduate students, 22 610 graduate students, 3672 international students, as well as 17 affiliated hospitals. Furthermore, in the 2020 QS Asian University Ranking, Fudan ranked No. 7 in Asia.
The motto of the University is scientia et studium, quaestio et cogitatio, which means: rich in knowledge and tenacious of purposes, inquiring with earnestness and reflecting with self-practice. The university values integration and innovation, thoughts focused on education, as well as the pursuit of excellence.
The University, namely the Fudan University Education Development Foundation as well as the Bank of China (BOC) recently donated 51,000 medical masks and 300 protective suits to Hungary. The university’s School of Economics gave an additional 5,000 masks. The medical supplies were delivered in early April of 2020. They will be distributed to frontline medical workers combating COVID-19 in Hungary.
Most significant perhaps, is that Fudan will be the first Chinese university to establish a campus abroad, in Budapest. According to the Chinese government, the Budapest campus will serve as a means of strengthening bilateral relations.