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#WeAreInternational: Sunderland Vice-Chancellor strengthens University ties in Hong Kong

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Published on 23 May 2023

University of Sunderland Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Sir David Bell (centre) at the opening of the new Hong Kong campus
University of Sunderland Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Sir David Bell (centre) at the opening of the new Hong Kong campus

The University of Sunderland is continuing to prove it is not just life-changing for students in the north-east, or indeed the UK – as the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Sir David Bell proved on his recent visit to Sunderland’s Hong Kong campus. 

Sir David was joined by Sunderland-based colleagues Ian Moody, Director of the University’s International Office, Andrea Pattinson, Assistant Director of Finance, and Jenny Gibbs, Sunderland’s Property Management Surveyor. 

It was an action-packed and enjoyable week of events, the highlight of which was the official opening of the University’s new campus in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong. 

Sir David and colleagues attended the ceremony alongside Brian Davidson CMG, the UK’s Consul General to Hong Kong and Macao and his colleagues from the Consulate and British Council. Also present were Herman Tse from InvestUK, a specialist business consultancy responsible for attracting new investment to Hong Kong, and other partners and friends. 

Describing the new campus, Sir David said: “The facilities in the building are very smart, with good, well-equipped spaces for both students and staff. There are plenty of images of Sunderland and London, which stand as a reminder of our multi-campus operation.”

Sir David added: “The opening of these new facilities signals our long-term commitment to Hong Kong. It also emphasises the unifying power of education and the way in which it can build bridges between people in different parts of the world. 

“Recent events have demonstrated our interconnectedness and what better example of that can there be than a university with deep roots in the north-east of England now strongly embedded here in the dynamic heart of south-east Asia.” 

The rest of the week was equally busy. Sir David and Ian visited one of the University’s strongest partners, Hong Kong College of Technology, where they met with the President of the College, Professor Cheuk-hay Chan. Sir David and Ian also had the opportunity to visit the college’s new cybersecurity centre. The college already has around 300 students studying for Sunderland qualifications and talks were had about potentially extending the partnership into new areas. 

The visit also included events for alumni and honorary graduates, hosted by Ian, Andrea and Jenny, as well as staff training and development and planning for additional student recruitment, not just in Hong Kong but across Asia. 

The Hong Kong visit comes as Universities UK International (UUKi) published a report demonstrating the value of international students to the UK. 

According to the report, international students in the north-east generate £1.8billion for the UK economy. In relation to Sunderland constituencies, the net benefit figures for 2021-22 is:

  • Sunderland Central £74.3m

  • Washington and Sunderland West £39.9m

  • Houghton and Sunderland South £39.5m

View the full report here

The University of Sunderland is supporting the #WeAreInternational campaign. 

Ten years after the campaign was first launched, it is rebooting today (23 May 2023) to celebrate the contributions – economic, cultural, social, civic – international students make to the UK. 

The campaign has been developed by UUKi, UKCISA, BUILA, London Higher, British Council: Study UK and other sector bodies.