On June 14th, Mr. Gunnar S. Gunnarsson, Ambassador of Iceland to China, along with the accompanying delegation, visited our university and directed the work of Iceland Research Center. Zhang Shiqiang, President of University of Jinan, along with Wang Baoxian and Li Guanghong, Vice Presidents, attended the welcoming ceremony. Li Rong, Executive Vice President of Shandong People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, and Jiang Yunyun, Deputy Director of European and African Affairs Division of Foreign Affairs Office of Shandong Provincial People’s Government, were invited to attend the ceremony. More than 20 people respectively from our university’s Office of Social Science, International Office and Iceland Research Center took part in the ceremony which was presided over by Zhang Shoufeng, Director of Social Science Office.
At the ceremony, President Zhang Shiqiang, on behalf of our university, extended a warm welcome to Ambassador of Iceland and supervisors of Foreign Affairs Office of Shandong Provincial People’s Government. Iceland was the first country in Western Europe to recognize China’s market economy status, and also the first in Europe to sign a bilateral free trade agreement with China. The exchanges between China and Iceland in the areas of economy, trade, education, science, technology and culture are increasingly widening and frequent. As a comprehensive university jointly funded by Shandong Province and Ministry of Education of the PRC, University of Jinan (UJN) has an edge on Biopharmaceutics and New Energy which are very compatible with Iceland’s frontier research fields. It is hoped that our university will work closely with Iceland in related fields. In addition, UJN has been striving to be innovative and international, and also one distinctive high-level university in the world, so we are looking forward to all-round exchanges and cooperation with Icelandic universities. President Zhang Shiqiang introduced that, since the founding of Iceland Research Center in 2014, a number of researches has been conducted on Iceland's economy, society, culture, science and technology and other fields, achieving fruitful results. In 2017, it was approved by Ministry of Education as one of the Research Centers on Different Nations and Regions, and many former Chinese Ambassadors to Iceland were appointed as honorary professors of the Research Center to give advice and support for the development of the Center. This time, Ambassador’s visit will definitely play a positive role in promoting the research of the Center.
At present, the biggest cooperation program between China and Iceland is in geothermal energy, and China also sees further increase in import volume of Icelandic products. Ambassador Gunnar S. Gunnarsson, on behalf of the Icelandic government, expressed thanks to UJN for founding Iceland Research Center. He said that he would provide full support to the Research Center, and also gave constructive suggestions. First, he will communicate on a regular basis with other appointed former Ambassadors to give advice on the work of the Research Center. Second, China and Iceland signed mutual recognition cooperation agreement on academic qualifications last month, opening the door for academic exchanges between the two countries and making it more convenient for the research of Iceland Research Center. Third, Iceland Research Center can use the opportunity of “Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and Iceland”, and hold a series of academic activities to lift the center to a higher level. Fourth, the recent visit of China’s delegation to Iceland, and attentions to Iceland’s social welfare, geothermal energy utilization, and academic research, can provide references for the research of the Center.
Li Rong, Executive Vice President of Shandong People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, proposed some suggestions on the bright future of the cooperation between China and Iceland. First, foreign exchanges of Shandong Province require the support of think tanks. UJN’s Iceland Research Center has provided a desirable platform for the cooperation between China and Iceland. Foreign Affairs Office of Shandong Provincial People’s Government will take the research center as a think tank of vital importance for the exchanges between China and Iceland, and give it full support. Second, geothermal energy utilization is the second cooperation field, and we hope the ambassador can come visit again, and inspect Jinan's geothermal energy utilization and airport construction project. Third, Shandong Province has an advanced coastal fishing industry, and talents good at marine science and technology gather here. It is hoped that Shandong Province can promote cooperation with Iceland in seafood processing and marine science and research. Fourth, high-quality trading cooperation between Shandong Province and Iceland is expected.