On 29th September 2014, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Prof. Jan Cornelis, Vice-Rector of VUB, received the National Friendship Award of China, which is the highest honor that the Chinese government confers to foreign experts who have made remarkable contributions to China’s economic and social progress. On behalf of the Chinese Government, the Vice-Premier of China, MA Kai, congratulated the award winners from 26 countries.
The National Friendship Award, conferred by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, recognizes and commends foreign experts for their dedication to China’s development in the fields of economics, technology, education and culture. For the awarding ceremony, winners are invited to Beijing for various activities and welcomed by the state leaders. On 30th September, the award winners were received by the Premier of China, LI Keqiang, and attended the state banquet celebrating the 65th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.
The award is the result of efforts in promoting the cooperation between Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU) in Xi’an (Shaanxi Province) and VUB, initiated by Prof. Jan Cornelis, as well as the links between Xi’an and Brussels in education, research, and technology transfer. After decades of continuing input by the colleagues of ETRO (Department Electronics and Informatics) and IRMO (International Relations and Mobility Office), now we are harvesting with the joint research laboratory on Audio Visual Signal processing (AVSP, coordinated by Prof. Hichem Sahli and Prof. JIANG Dongmei), the joint degree programme on Computers Science – Multimedia, and the first Privileged International Partnership of VUB, namely with NPU. This international partnership agreement was signed in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Belgian’s Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo on 31st March 2014 in Brussels. This year, VUB welcomed 25 NPU students for the summer school and 18 students for VUB-NPU study programs in different fields of engineering and management.
In the evening of 29th September, the Belgian Ambassador in China hosted a reception to celebrate this exciting moment for Prof. Jan Cornelis and Prof. Patrick Sorgeloos (aquaculture) from Ghent University.
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