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AUAP-IAUP Conf. Closing & Sias’ 20th Anniv. Celebrations
Sunday, May 26 - Sias University held its 20th anniversary celebrations on the 25th of May.
The day's festivities began at 8 a.m. with the annual Homecoming Parade that had an East-meets-West theme. Chinese and foreign guests, leaders of partner universities, alumni, and parents of students were present. The Parade had floats made my academic schools, residential colleges, faculty groups, student groups, the Sias Secondary School, Fort Hays State University, Cape Breton University (Canada), California Baptist University, the Black Sea Dance Troupe (Greece), and a band from Universidad de Alcalá (Spain). The Homecoming Parade is a prime example of the internationalized campus culture of Sias that gives students a unique holistic education and unrivaled opportunities for extra-curricular activities.
After the Homecoming Parade, Sias held the Closing Ceremony of the 2nd Joint AUAP (Association of Universities of Asia & the Pacific) - IAUP (International Association of University Presidents) International Conference, followed by the 20th Anniversary Celebrations, at the Basketball Arena. The chief guests at the Arena were:
- former Secretary of the Henan Provincial Party Committee, and former Director of the Standing Committee of the Henan Provincial People's Congress, Xu Guangchun;
- Deputy Director of the Standing Committee of the Henan Provincial People's Congress, Xu Jichao;
- Vice Governor of Henan, Huo Jinhua;
- Vice Chairman of the Henan Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and Chairman of the Henan Provincial Committee of the Jiusan Society, Zhang Yazhong;
- former Vice Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, Ai Ping, and his wife, Zhang Mai;
- former Deputy Director of the Standing Committee of the Henan Provincial People's Congress, Jiang Duyun;
- Vice President and Secretary-General of the Chinese Association of Higher Education, Kang Kai;
- former Prime Minister of Japan, Yukio Hatoyama, and his wife, Miyuki Hatoyama;
- Consul General of the United States in Wuhan, Jamie Fouss;
- the Thai Minister for Education Counselling to China, Patcharawan Wongthai;
- the President of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP), and President of Caucasus Univesity (Georgia), Dr. Kakha Shengelia;
- the President of the Association of Universities of Asia & the Pacific (AUAP), and President of the University of Tehran, Prof. Dr. Mahmoud Nili Ahmadabadi;
- Deputy Secretary-General of the Henan Provincial People's Government, Yin Hongbin;
- Party Secretary and Director of Henan's Department of Education, Zheng Bangshan;
- Deputy Party Secretary of the Zhengzhou Municipal Party Committee, and Mayor of Zhengzhou, Wang Xinwei;
- Deputy Party Secretary and Mayor of Zhoukou, Ding Fuhao;
- Party Secretary of Zhengzhou University, Niu Shucheng;
- Vice Chairman of the University Council and Deputy Party Secretary of Zhejiang University, Professor Zheng Qiang;
- Member of the Standing Committee of the Zhengzhou Municipal Committee, and Minister of the United Front Work Department, Yang Fuping;
- Member of the Party Committee of the Zhengzhou Municipal Government, and Vice Mayor of Zhengzhou, Wu Fumin;
- Vice Mayor of Zhengzhou, Sun Xiaohong;
- Party Secretary of Zhengzhou University of Light Industry, Yu Hailuo;
- Vice President of Henan University, Yang Zhonghua;
- former President of Henan University of Chinese Medicine, Zheng Yuling;
- former Party Secretary of Henan University of Engineering, Qin Shuli;
- a delegation from the University of Arizona, including the Vice President, Brent White, and Andrew Schulz;
- Member of the Kansas Board of Regents, Allen Schmidt;
- President of Fort Hays State University, Dr. Tisa Mason;
- President of California Baptist University, Dr. Ronald Ellis;
- President of West Los Angeles College, Robert Brown.
Also present were representatives of over 60 of Sias' partner universities, as well as university presidents and representatives from the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP), and the Association of Universities of Asia & the Pacific (AUAP). Sias University's leadership was represented by the Founder and Chairman of the Board, Dr. Shawn Chen; Party Secretary, Ma Jiansheng; Sias President, Chen Sikun, Executive President, Wang Jialin; Deputy Party Secretary, Li Huafeng; Vice President, Wu Hua; and Prof. Guo Junfeng. Over 4,000 people were packed into the Sias Basketball Arena, including teachers, students, and alumni. Ma Jiansheng presided over the ceremony.
After the national anthem of the People's Republic of China was played, Dr. Shawn Chen delivered the introductory speech and introduced the guests. He briefly reviewed Sias' 20-year history and spoke of the outstanding innovation, commitment, and spirit of the teachers and students. He said that Sias had been committed to contributing to the opening up of education and the introduction of high-quality educational resources in Henan. He went on to describe Sias' unique educational philosophy and internationalized environment. He closed with saying that Sias would continue to focus on academic disciplines, the improvement of holistic education, and the combination of the advantages of internationalization, to produce more and more talent for the region.
At the celebration, many leaders and representatives of partner universities sent congratulatory video messages for the 20th anniversary of Sias.
Vice Governor Huo Jinhua's speech was commissioned by the Governor, Chen Run'er, and was delivered on behalf of the Henan Provincial People's Government. She congratulated all the teachers and students at Sias and thanked everyone who had supported and contributed to Sias' development and education in Henan. She spoke of the economic and social development of the province of Henan and the opening up of education. She pointed out that as the first university in Henan to implement a dual Sino-American Bachelor's Degree over the past 20 years, Sias University had forged distinct international characteristics with its open and holistic curriculum and teaching methods in line with international standards. She said that the diverse campus culture, international partnerships, and provision of internships and employment were a hallmark of Sias. The university had produced a large number of graduates for society who had made outstanding contributions to the economic and social development of Henan. She wished Sias for its anniversary and said that she hoped that the university would adhere to President Xi Jinping's guidelines for Socialism with Chinese Characteristics from the 19th National Education Congress, and would continue with educational reform, contributing to regional development and the growth of the regional economy.
The former Prime Minister of Japan, Yukio Hatoyama, who is also the Administrative Director of the East Asian Community Institute, delivered a speech in which he commended Sias' development and achievements over the past 20 years. He encouraged people from all walks of life, especially the younger generation, to work towards friendship between China and Japan. He said that he hoped that students at Sias would have a broad vision and integrity. He said that students should fulfill their obligations as global citizens and value peace in the region, as well as develop an inclusive attitude while learning from each other and working hand in hand to promote the exchange of ideas. He concluded by saying that cooperation and development between China and Japan would be mutually beneficial in addition to benefiting all of Asia.
The Mayor of Zhengzhou, Wang Xinwei, spoke on behalf of the Zhengzhou Municipal People's Government. He spoke about the rapid development of Zhengzhou's economy and spoke about the need for support and cooperation from international universities and global high-quality institutions of higher education. He said that hoped that Sias University, as an important member of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP), and the Association of Universities of Asia & the Pacific (AUAP), would use the platform of its 20th anniversary to work together with other universities in the Zhengzhou metropolitan area for the promotion of higher education. He extended an invitation to all the dignitaries and guests present to get to know Zhengzhou better for the promotion of the internationalization and higher education and to share in Zhengzhou's rich culture and history.
The Party Secretary of Zhengzhou University, Niu Shucheng, congratulated Sias in his speech on behalf of the Party Committee and leaders of Zhengzhou University. He said that the development and success of Sias was a result of the opening up of education in Central China, and the support of leaders at all levels. He also commended the contributions of the faculty and students of Sias. He went on to speak about the cooperation between Zhengzhou University and Sias University over the past 20 years and said that Zhengzhou University would continue to support the growth and development of Sias. He concluded by saying that he hoped that Sias would implement the guidelines from the National Education Congress and the Henan Education Work Congress to improve its level and make greater achievements for the Central Plains and the development of education in the province of Henan.
The Vice Chairman of the University Council and Deputy Party Secretary of Zhejiang University, Zheng Qiang, reviewed the ties and exchanges between Sias University and Zhejiang University over the past 10 years, and their role in the growth of the economy in the region. He said that Henan was the birthplace of the Chinese civilization and had a rich culture and history. While China is in a period of economic growth and industrial change, Henan needed to increase its levels of globalization and high-quality development. He spoke of the upcoming 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and concluded by saying that efforts needed to be ceaseless for the achievement of the ideals, beliefs, and goals of the nation.
Following the speeches, Sias University held signing ceremony for a cooperative agreement with iFLYTEK Co. Ltd., for the founding of the iFLYTEK School of Artificial Intelligence. The signatories were the Vice President of iFLYTEK, Yin Dahai, and the Executive President of Sias, Wang Jialin. The witnesses for the signing of the agreement were the COO of Personnel Training at iFLYTEK, Cui Xiaolei, the Director of the Henan Government-Enterprise Customer Group, Yang Shaoming, the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Sias, Dr. Shawn Chen, and Sias President, Chen Sikun.
This was followed by a series of stunning performances primarily by Sias' School of Music & Opera, which included traditional dances and vocal performances that referenced the 20 years of development of Sias and the university's educational philosophy of "East-meets-West; Integrating Knowledge with Practice".
Following the Closing Ceremony of the 2nd Joint AUAP-IAUP International Conference and the 20th Anniversary Celebrations, Sias University continued with its traditional Homecoming Day events. At the Alumni Summit, Dr. Shawn Chen and President Chen Sikun spent time interacting and encouraging returning alumni. This was followed by the Alumni Financial Forum and the Alumni Futures Forum where outstanding alumni shared from their work experience and successes with entrepreneurship. Other important activities included the election of the Parents' Committee, the Parents Exchange Conference, the 2019 New Media Forum for Henan Universities, the Sias Alumni Work Salon and the Anniversary Rose Ball.
During the preceding week of the 20th anniversary celebrations, Sias hosted a large number of exhibitions such as the School of Architecture exhibition, an exhibition by the International Students from the School of Literature, a photography exhibition by the School of Journalism & Communication, exhibitions by the Residential Colleges, and a photography exhibition at the Library titled "Sias in the Media" by photojournalist Ding Youming.
The 20th anniversary of Sias University is a landmark event, not just for the university, but for private higher education and the opening up of education in Henan.
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