Ambassador Xiao Junzheng’s visit to the University of Crete

In a notable event at the University of Crete’s Rethymno campus, discussions about potential collaborations were ignited during a visit by Xiao Junzheng, the Chinese Ambassador to Greece. Accompanying the ambassador were his associates, who met with the university’s three Vice Rectors, Prof.Georgios Kosioris, Prof. Konstantinos Spanoudakis, and Prof. Dimitris Mylonakis, to explore various avenues for cooperation. The meeting was also attended by Rethymno’s Deputy Mayor of Education, Nektarios Papadogiannis, who represented the local municipality.

The visit coincided with the one-year anniversary of the Greek and Chinese Culture Center and was part of the “The Origins of Civilizations: A Cretan Perspective” winter school event, attended by Chinese undergraduate students. This gathering marked a significant step towards fostering educational and cultural exchanges between the two countries.

Ambassador Xiao expressed his admiration for Crete’s historical and cultural significance, highlighting his visits to other cities and the archaeological site of Phaistos. He pointed out the University of Crete’s high global standing and its appeal to Chinese students, underlining the importance of offering programs in English to attract more students from China. Xiao also discussed the untapped tourism potential of Rethymno, suggesting that academic and touristic activities could be synergized for greater mutual benefit.

A key initiative discussed was the establishment of a “Confucius” center, funded by China, aimed at promoting the Chinese language and culture among both students and the local community. This center is expected to enhance educational exchanges and contribute to the cultural understanding between Greece and China.

Deputy Mayor Papadogiannis emphasized the dual pillars of tourism and academia as fundamental to Rethymno’s identity and development. He expressed eagerness to welcome more Chinese students and tourists to the city, highlighting the enriching impact such exchanges could have on the local and broader community.

This event underscores the strengthening ties between Greece and China through academic collaboration and cultural exchange, setting the stage for future cooperative ventures that benefit both nations.

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