Speach at Norway Day at Fudan University in Shanghai.
President, deans, professors, students, members of staff, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to be here today. Thank you for the invitation.
I arrived in Shanghai late yesterday night. This is the first visit on my agenda – and so appropriate!
I am very pleased to start in a ‘piece of Norway in Shanghai’.
To meet some of the students, former students and businesses.
And – most importantly – to see the close ties that BI Norwegian Business School and Fudan University School of Management have forged since 1996.
It is most definitely a success story!
Looking back to the opening-up of China in the 1990s, we can see that 20 years is quite a long time.
Since then, there has been considerable contact between Norway and China in the business, culture and education sectors, as well as people-to-people cooperation.
During this period, a large number of Norwegian students at different levels have studied at Fudan University, for shorter or longer periods.
For 20 years, there has been an important and very active Nordic Centre at Fudan.
Furthermore, more than two thousand students, mostly Chinese, have taken the BI–Fudan MBA programme.
You make up the largest group of former students from a joint Norwegian–Chinese educational programme.
It is an honour for me to be here, and to have the opportunity to meet some of you.
Relations between countries can include cooperation in a range of areas. Politics, trade, culture, the environment and many more.
In the bilateral relationship between Norway and China, education is one of the areas where cooperation has been strongest.
This is due to the many contacts and visits between schools, universities and scientific institutions over a number of years. The BI–Fudan educational programmes and exchanges represent the best of Sino–Norwegian cooperation in this field.
It has built common ground for two schools, two countries, and two peoples.
And it is based on the idea – introduced by the great teacher Confucius 2500 years ago – that learning, life-long learning, and learning for all, is vital.
It is at the heart of human development.
Now that Norway and China have normalised diplomatic and political relations, I am very glad that there are platforms like this to build on further.
The School of Management at Fudan University celebrated its 30th anniversary two years ago.
The programme with BI was one of the first joint programmes with a foreign school to be recognised by China.
My message to you today is this: Keep sharing knowledge!
Sharing knowledge is a good way to make contacts and do business. Sharing knowledge also leads to innovation.
This is one of the reasons why Norwegian students come to Shanghai – to acquire new knowledge, gain new insights, meet new friends, and make new contacts.
Bringing people and experiences from different places and cultures together fosters bold new ideas, to the benefit of both Norway and China.
I hope you all enjoy Norway Day. Thank you.