SHENZHEN MSU-BIT University, the first Sino-Russian university, was officially inaugurated at its transitional campus in eastern Shenzhen yesterday morning.
The university was jointly established by the Shenzhen government, Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) and Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU), following a memorandum of understanding between the ministries of education of the two countries three years ago.
President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin both sent congratulatory messages to celebrate the inaugural semester of the university.
Xi said that education is a major impetus for the development of a country and a key bond to promote exchanges between different peoples.
"Under an agreement reached by President Putin and me, the establishment of Sino-Russian Shenzhen MSU-BIT University is an important achievement in bilateral cultural and people-to-people exchanges and is of great demonstration significance," said Xi in the message.
Putin said he believes that the university, founded on the basis of two well-known universities from Beijing and Moscow, will further enhance friendship and understanding between the two peoples and that graduates from the university will become sought after in Russia, China and around the world.
Unlike most jointly built universities that adopt English as the major teaching language, Shenzhen MSU-BIT University will make Russian the primary teaching language.
The first batch of 113 Chinese students started their university life earlier than those at other universities to take part in a language training program at the beginning of August. The four-week program taught students Russian for six hours a day and six days a week. All of the students have passed the primary test of Russian proficiency, according to the university's Russian language center.
The university will accept undergraduate and graduate students from China and abroad, with international students making up 30 percent of the student body. It plans to accommodate up to 5,000 students in the coming years. Enrollment of doctorate students will begin in 2018.
More than half of the teaching faculty is from Russia.
Puriaeva, director of the university's Russian language school, said the Russian teachers are satisfied with the working environment and looking forward to teaching in Shenzhen.
The university's permanent campus is under construction in Longgang, which will cover an area of 33.37 hectares and feature Russian-style architecture. The total investment of the campus has reached 1.96 billion yuan (US$301 million).
Both Beijing Institute of Technology and Moscow State University are famous for their math, science and engineering programs. The joint university has opened courses, such as math and applied math, material science and engineering, physical geography and resource environment.
All students will be granted degree certificates from both countries upon graduation.
Also yesterday, the Sino-Russian comprehensive university alliance was established in Shenzhen.
Forty Chinese universities and 20 Russian universities joined the alliance, which aims to strengthen exchanges in modern teaching methodology, scientific research, and cultural and social activities.
A joint declaration was released July 5 between Peking University and Lomonosov Moscow State University to establish the alliance.
Nearly 100 university presidents from both countries participated in a forum yesterday, discussing topics such as talent cultivation and research cooperation.