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SOAS in Beijing with Boris

25 October 2013

To coincide with the Mayor of London’s visit to Beijing this month, SOAS, University of London, as part of the London Universities International Partnership (LUIP), was invited to create a pop up installation to celebrate its achievements and alumni from China.

The LUIP group consists of 16 London Universities who attended along with key British and Chinese companies and organisations involved with education. This included UKTI, the China-Britain Business Council, British Council and university alumni.

The showcase in the Yang Gallery, which ran from 13-15 October, was designed to highlight the depth of courses available at London Universities and celebrate innovation, collaboration, creativity, learning and alumni achievements.

SOAS’ pop-up stand included a Language Landscape Map mapping the world’s languages, 80 of which demonstrating the diversity of languages spoken in London. It also showed the diversity of languages and dialects spoken throughout China. The map was born from the 2011 Endangered Languages Week at SOAS and is a project worked on by former students, current students and staff.

Boris Johnson also hosted a VIP Brunch on 13 October where he spoke of London’s educational offering:  the global connections, international perspective, cutting edge of innovation and creativity and London as a place to have space to think and develop oneself. During this trip he also emphasised the importance of children in the UK learning Mandarin in schools.

SOAS Student Recruitment Manager Nick Butler said: “This was a fantastic opportunity to showcase SOAS’ areas of expertise. Prospective students were interested to hear more, particularly about Law, Development Studies and Business, especially International Management. It’s great to hear Boris Johnson highlight the importance of learning Chinese in the UK, given the current global climate.”

In an article he wrote for The Conversation UK, Director of the SOAS China Institute Professor Michel Hockx said: "I found myself in wholehearted agreement with Boris Johnson, as he took the opportunity of his trip to China to express his opinion that British children should learn Mandarin." Read full article: 'Boris is right, it’s time for us to learn Chinese'.