TWU Overwhelmed by Welcome in Tianjin.

Twenty-eight years ago, Trinity Western University signed its first international agreement at Tianjin Foreign Studies University (TFSU). This agreement established a visiting teachers’ program through which 178 public education English teachers in Tianjin City received professional training and development at TWU over a 20-year time frame. This program is no longer operating today, but it has led TWU to establish strong, long-standing friendships throughout the City of Tianjin that are incredibly meaningful today.

On October 24, TWU President, Dr. Mark Husbands, met with Dr. Fachun Chen, President of Tianjin Foreign Studies University, to forge new relationships for the future. That afternoon a surprise party was held at TFSU with over 70 teachers, friends, and colleagues who have visited TWU over the past 30 years. Dr. Husbands and his wife, Becky, wholeheartedly immersed themselves in meeting these long-time friends, who ranged from 8 to 80 years in age.

Dr. Sonya Grypma, Associate Provost, appreciated the opportunity to converse with the attendees and to mine for profound personal stories. “Their friendships lasted for over 50 years and started back in the Cultural Revolution out in the countryside. It would be worth capturing these stories,” she said.

With the support of faithful TWU friends, Professor Li Guishan, Dr. Frank Gao, and Dr. Janice Lu, this celebration was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all involved. We were also pleased to have Karen Yu, from the Canadian Trade office located in Tianjin, join us throughout our visit in Tianjin.

In the afternoon and evening, our TWU delegation met with Nankai University in Tianjin. “Nankai University is the top university in Tianjin and is currently celebrating its 100th anniversary,” stated Dr. Philip Laird, TWU Vice Provost. With an emphasis on arts and culture, the time at Nankai focused on TWU’s School of Arts, Media + Culture (SAMC) and the personal connections of Dr. David Squires (SAMC Dean). Dr. Zhao, Dean of Asian Art at the Nankai School of Literature, has become a good friend of TWU and pledged to support the strengthening of TWU’s relationships in art, music, and literature in Tianjin.

Nankai School of Literature faculty expressed interest in the TWU Choir returning to Tianjin for a future Goodwill Tour. In the evening, TWU headed to Nankai Ivy Institute for the Arts to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will set the stage for future collaborations between Nankai and TWU.

On October 25, TWU visited the Sino-German University and College in Tianjin for new discussions about future collaborative activities. With an emphasis on arts and culture, this visit again provided an opportunity for Dr. Squires to consider partnerships between TWU’s SAMC and institutions in China.

In the evening, the delegation met with Dr. Yang Qingxin, President of Tianjin University of Technology (TUT). Visits to the TUT School of Management and the School of Fine Arts, both under the leadership of Dr. Jingbin Wang, revealed the strength of these departments and steadfast international partnerships of TUT. Opportunities surrounding student exchange programs and short-term study abroad were central to the discussions about collaborations between our universities.