|Zhang Xihua (L) is awarded an honorary doctorate at the celebration marking the 540th anniversary of the founding of the University of Copenhagen on November 8. [Xinhua]|
Zhang Xihua, professor with the College of English at Beijing International Studies University, was awarded an honorary doctorate at a celebration marking the 540th anniversary of the founding of the University of Copenhagen on November 8. The award recognizes her contributions to the establishment of the first Danish Research Center in China and the enhancement of cross-cultural understanding and social and academic thinking. Her efforts have been influential throughout the Western world.
This is the first time the University of Copenhagen has awarded the honorary doctorate to an Asian woman since its establishment.
The University of Copenhagen is the largest and most prestigious comprehensive university in Denmark and one of the oldest universities in northern Europe. Most of its honorary doctorates are professors in Europe and the United States.
Zhang graduated from Hunan Normal University and studied for a doctor's degree in comparative literature and intercultural studies at Beijing Language and Culture University. She studied abroad at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark in 2006-2007. After returning to China, she kept in touch with the scholars at the university. In 2009, she began to work at Beijing International Studies University.
In 2011, Zhang was appointed as the Dean of the School of Applied English. She facilitated the signing of a cooperative agreement between the School of Applied English and the Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Research of the University of Copenhagen. Since then, Beijing International Studies University has been an official international partner of the University of Copenhagen.
In 2012, the two sides carried out a cooperative research and joint talent training project.
In 2015, Zhang and Danish scholars reached consensus on jointly building a Danish Research Center. In 2017, approved by the Ministry of Education, it officially became the first Danish research center in China.
As the first director of the center, Zhang is responsible for planning research topics and projects, organizing research teams, preparing and holding annual meetings, declaring research projects, and expanding joint talent training and cooperative research.
The center has 16 members, including professors at the University of Copenhagen, Chinese and Danish experts in diplomacy and foreign affairs and in cultural studies. It carries out basic and comparative research on the construction of clean government culture, comparative education, cultural heritage and communication, and international talent training.
From 2015 to 2019 five annual meetings were held, with themes highly aligned with the common priorities of the Chinese and Danish governments.
For example, in the context of the "China-Denmark Tourism Year" in 2017, the theme of the annual meeting was "tourism and heritage as cultural transmission."
At present, the center has published more than 10 papers, carried out eight research projects at provincial and university levels, and published three books including the Construction of a Clean Government in Denmark. It has facilitated the exchange of a large number of Chinese and Danish students.
"The Danish Research Center gives Danish scholars a research platform in China and the opportunity to spread Chinese culture and tell Chinese stories to Denmark. I hope Chinese and Danish scholars will effectively cooperate and communicate in order to promote the mutual understanding of the Chinese and Danish people," said Zhang.
(Source: China Women's News/Translated and edited by Women of China)
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