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Ambassador Liu Xiaoming Attends the Generation UK: Celebrating Five Years Reception Event

On June 27, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming attended the Generation UK: Celebrating Five Years Reception Event hosted by the British Council and delivered a speech. Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of the British Council, Paul Kett, Director General at the British Department for Education, and more than 200 representatives of the British education sectors were present.

In his speech, Ambassador Liu extended his congratulations to Generation UK for its fruitful results and his appreciation to all those who have cared for, supported and taken part in the compain. He pointed out that since the China-UK High-Level People to People Dialogue was launched in 2012, cultural and people-to-people exchanges and cooperation between China and Britain have taken diverse forms and grown in depth and width. The number of Chinese students in the UK has been increasing continuously; the Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms have been progressing steadily; and Generation UK has been playing an important role as a highlight of China-UK cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

"This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. It is also the 65th anniversary of the establishment of China-UK diplomatic relationship at the level of chargé d'affaires. As the world undergoes profound changes unseen in a century, the China-UK "Golden Era" is faced with new opportunities." The Ambassador added, "Looking forward, there will be broad prospects for our two countries to deepen cooperation across the board."

He listed three aspects that the two sides should make efforts on: building a bridge of mutual learning to work on exchanges, dialogue and harmonious coexistence between Eastern and Western civilisations, invigorating the passion for innovation to foster a new taskforce for China-UK cooperation on innovation so as to make positive contribution to the progress of scientific and technological innovation in the world, and sowing the seeds of friendship to further deepen exchanges in the areas of culture, education, health care, tourism and media, so that the Chinese and British young people could enhance friendship through exchanges and grow together through mutual learning.

Sir Ciarán Devane commended Generation UK as the most important and successful programme of the British Council in 40 years. Strongly supported by the British government, relevant institutions and the Chinese Embassy in the UK, Generation UK has a profound impact on all participants. Through education and culture exchanges, the young people of Britain and China have enhanced their mutual understanding, which would guarantee and sustain the "Golden Era" of the UK-China relations.

Director General Kett emphasized that China is an important partner of the UK. It is of great significance to the promotion of the British youths' in-depth understanding of China in the fields of diplomacy, trade, science, technology, education and creative industries, the future development of the UK and the relationship between the UK and China. Generation UK, Mandarin Excellence Programme and the Chinese Government Scholarship provide UK students with more opportunities to get to know China. The British Department of Education also strongly supports young people from disadvantaged and less represented backgrounds to engage with China, and would increase its funds to realize its international development strategy. He hoped that Generation UK would continue to develop and benefit more young people in the UK.

Juliet Guo, Alumnus of the programme, shared her experience in studying and working in China and returning to Britain for her career development. She talked about the positive impact on the development of her personal ability and confidence through participating in the programme, calling on the British government and universities to continue to support the compain.

Afterwards, Ambassador Liu and the guests jointly turned on the celebratory video of the 5th Anniversary of the Generation UK. Matt Knowles, Director of East China Area of the British Council, announced the launch of a new UK-China Outward Mobility Internationalisation Partnership Fund to further support the cooperation in internationalisation strategies between universities of the two countries.

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Generation UK, launched by the British Council in 2013, aims to support and encourage UK students to study or work in China. The campaign, ending in 2020 according to schedule, plans to attract a total of 80,000 British youths to take up study or work experience opportunities in China. So far, 70,000 people have been sent to China for exchange programmes. It is one of the UK's largest youth exchange programmes outside the Europe.

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