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High-level Finnish delegation visits Sias
Saturday, April 25 - Sias International University was visited by a Finnish delegation that consisted of members of the Regional State Administrative Agency of the province of Eastern Finland, officials from Aalto University, the University of Helsinki, and Savonia University of Applied Sciences, and the CEO of Valsa. This is the first delegation from Finland to visit Sias.
The delegation consisted of Elli Aaltonen, Director General of the Regional State Administrative Agency for Eastern Finland, Tuula Kääriäinen, Special Advisor to the Regional State Administrative Agency for Eastern Finland, Pentti Mustalampi, Director of Aalto University, Natalia Narits, Office Manager of Aalto University, Sinikka Mynttinen, Senior Researcher at Aalto University, Pirjo Siiskonen, Director of the University of Helsinki, Ritva Mynttinen, Planning Officer at the University of Helsinki, Kati Partanen, Senior Lecturer at Savonia University of Applied Sciences, Sampo Siiskonen, a business mentor, and Kari Hyväkkä, the CEO of Valsa.
The delegation was first taken on a tour of the Sias-Amidi Incubation Center by Zhao Chen. They then toured the Sias campus, and spent time at the Chinese Garden. This was followed by a grand welcoming ceremony with the national anthems of China and Finland played by the Sias Band. After introductory speeches by Sias founder, Dr. Shawn Chen, and Director General Aaltonen, the delegation proceeded to the main meeting and the signing of an agreement.
Sias International University and Aalto University sign MoU
The meeting was held on the 7th floor of the administration building, and was attended by the Chairman of the Board of Sias, Dr. Shawn Chen, the Director of the International Exchanges Division of the Henan Provincial Government, Yang Jianwei, Sias President, Dr. Richard Li Hua, the Director of ICED, William Lu, and the Director of the Administrative Office, Jackie Zhao.
Dr. Shawn Chen gave an introduction to the history and growth of Sias. He spoke of Sias being the first foreign-owned university in Henan, and about the dual degrees that Sias offers with Zhengzhou University, and with Fort Hays State University. He also spoke about Sias’ emphasis on a holistic education as opposed to mere text book study. He further mentioned Sias’ goal to position itself as the most effective model for bringing in students, raising their standards, and helping them to excel.
Director General Elli Aaltonen, began by emphasizing the importance of a university campus, as the environment and premises could motivate students. She was impressed by how involved students were at Sias. She stressed the importance of knowing an international language, the importance of motivation, and courage for students. She spoke of how the small and medium business models, that are encouraged by Sias, were ideal for Eastern Finland. She hoped that this tie-up would lead to exchanges and maybe even some Finnish influence at Sias!
Pentti Mustalampi, the Director of Aalto University, one of the biggest universities in Finland, spoke of their need to improve their setting up of concrete businesses - something they hoped to tie-up with Sias for. He said that small and medium businesses were needed in Finland. The problem in Finland was not necessarily starting up, but finishing. He went on to speak about how student-driven entrepreneurial societies were forming all over Finland. He said that there have been incubation centers established all across Finland, starting 20 years ago in Helsinki [the capital]. A direct result of this has been the birth of about 600 companies and the creation of about 2,000 jobs.
Universities in Finland are mainly state-financed, but there are foundation-funded universities as well. Aalto University is a combination of the two types. Their main focus is their School of Business.
Dr. Shawn Chen concluded the meeting by speaking about the possible future of the relationship between Sias International University and Aalto University. He said that he hoped that this would lead to start-ups and incubation centers in both the Finnish and Chinese markets. He spoke of student and professor exchanges, scholarships, a possible ‘China Center’ on campus in Finland for students and locals, and a possible joint degree for Business majors, with 2 years of study in China, and 2 years in Finland.
Sias International University and Aalto University signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will set into motion many of the plans and ideas discussed at this meeting. This is the first agreement and tie-up between Eastern Finland and a university in China.
After lunch, Director General Aaltonen delivered a lecture on Eastern Finland and the courses being taken for its development. She also spoke of the advantages and challenges that students face. Sias President, Dr. Richard Li-Hua, presented Director General Aaltonen with a certificate that enlisted her as a Visiting Professor of Sias International University, adding to an already impressive list of academics.
The delegation visits the Sias-Amidi Incubation Center
Sias campus tour
At the Italian Square
At the CUBA building
At the Sias Golf driving range
At the Chinese Garden
At the Chinese Garden
At the Chinese Garden
(L - R) Dr. Richard Li Hua, Director General Aaltonen, Dr. Shawn Chen
The welcoming ceremony
Director General Aaltonen receiving the welcome on behalf of the delegation
The delegation with the Sias Band
The meeting at the Administration building
Dr. Shawn Chen speaking at the meeting
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
Aalto University President, Pentti Mustalampi, and Sias President, Dr. Richard Li Hua
Director General Aaltonen, and Dr. Shawn Chen
Dr. Shawn Chen, and Kati Partanen
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