Delegation of the European Union to China

EU launches alumni engagement initiative in Beijing

Brussels, 03/12/2019 - 07:18, UNIQUE ID: 191203_2
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The initiative helps participants in different EU cooperation initiatives stay in touch and keep their relationship with the EU

The EU has today launched the first EU alumni engagement initiative in Beijing, China, in which participants in different EU cooperation initiatives come together in a network. The goal is to help people stay in touch, exchange experiences and keep their relationship with the EU.


The network was launched at ceremony hosted by the EU Delegation in Beijing. Participants in EU programmes like Erasmus Mundus, Jean Monnet Professors and Centres and Marie Skłodowska Curie, as well as in the EU-China interpreter training project and in the EU visitor’s project all took part in the event. H.E. Nicolas Chapuis, EU ambassador to China, and Ms Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director-General of the Commission’s interpretation department, both took part in the event.


In his introductory remarks, Mr Chapuis, EU Ambassador to China said: “EU Alumni are active across all sectors of the EU-China relationship. I’m very happy that we are starting a project that will connect all the members of our “EU family“, allowing us to stay in touch with them more systematically.”


In her welcome speech, Ms Fink-Hooijer, Director-General of the European Commission's interpretation service, highlighted the importance of the EU alumni engagement initiative in the EU-China relations. Ms Fink-Hooijer said: “The main goal of the EU Alumni Engagement Initiative launched today is to strengthen the EU’s worldwide relationships and partnerships with EU alumni, deepen the ties between the EU and its partners and foster a better understanding of each other. The Chinese Alumni act as connectors, building informal bridges between the EU and China.”


The initiative has the potential to reach more than 4000 people from across China who have participated in EU-funded projects. The initiative foresees a cross-programme exchange – be it face-to-face like the alumni reunion organized on 3 December 2019, or in the future also an online web platform where the alumni network can stay connected.


The EU Alumni Engagement Initiative for EU Delegations aims at reinforcing EU's capacity to sustain a long term meaningful engagement with individuals in third countries who have already benefited from EU funded programmes and been in contact with the EU at one point in their lives. This action aims at upgrading the relationship between the Alumni and the EU into a long lasting partnership based on trust and broad mutual understanding.

Under the EUCITP cooperation, which started in 1986, over 500 Chinese interpreters were trained which today form part of a strong Alumni network. EUCITP participants include senior policy makers in a wide range of ministries and provincial governments, including a MOFCOM Vice-Minister and various Directors in the Ministries of Commerce, Foreign Affairs, Education, Science and Technology.

The EUCITP project is implemented by DG Interpretation in collaboration with the European Commission’s department for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) - under the heading of “Public Diplomacy”. The project, which has become a “brand” with an excellent reputation among Chinese partners, consists of two elements:

  1. Cooperation with Chinese Ministries: Chinese officials come to Brussels for a five-month interpretation training course, which also gives them the opportunity to learn how the EU works.
  2. Cooperation with Chinese universities: DG Interpretation provides teaching assistance to two partner universities in China (Beijing and Shanghai).

EU-China cooperation in the field of interpretation has a strong people-to-people component. It not only promotes multilingualism, but also contributes to a better understanding of the EU in China. At the same time, it engages with China as an international partner and facilitates interaction in areas such as trade, connectivity, research, security and foreign policy.

For the past 30 years, DG Interpretation has been contributing its know-how to many interpreter training projects, both within the EU and in countries around the world, such as China, Macao, Vietnam, Cuba, Russia and several African countries.

During her visit to Beijing, Ms Fink-Hooijer also met with representatives of the Ministry of Commerce and the University of International Business and Economics to discuss the continuous cooperation between the EU and China in the context of their joint interpreter training project (EUCITP).  Ms Fink-Hooijer will also travel to Shanghai in the context of the 70th anniversary of the Shanghai International Studies University (SISU), an important partner under the EUCITP.

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