Yenching Academy Ambassador Speaker Series: Dame Barbara Woodward, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to China


On June 13, 2017, Dame Barbara Woodward, HM Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China, visited the Yenching Academy of Peking University to participate in the Ambassador Speaker Series. Jim Addison (Education Director, British Council) and Ben Miller (Bilateral Officer, Political Division) also joined the event.

The Ambassador first met Lin Jianhua, President of Peking University. Then Professor Yuan Ming, Dean of the Yenching Academy, briefly introduced the Yenching Academy to HM Ambassador and expressed a warm welcome.

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The Ambassador gave a speech titled “The International Order in 2018: 旧瓶装新酒 (old bottles of new wine). Commenting on the event, Alicia Tee (Singapore, Yale University) said that “the Ambassador was remarkably honest and direct in her responses to questions, adeptly navigating a variety of topics ranging from contemporary issues like China's view of Brexit and participation in multilateral organizations, to broader questions such as gender in China and the role of history in foreign policy”. Chen Zhenxing (China, Peking University) commented that in the “the future of deeper cooperation between China and the UK is very promising”. Similarly, Ravi Prasad (United Kingdom, University of Cambridge) commented that the event was “inspiring and reinforced my view that Sino-UK relations will continue to move from strength to strength in the ‘golden-era’”.

HM Ambassador agreed that the Yenching Academy and the British Embassy in Beijing would further develop links going forward. A number of scholars have since signed up for the “Be Yourself 做妳自己 campaign”, an initiative focused on empowering women in society and in the economy, that HM Ambassador leads.

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The Yenching Academy Ambassador Speaker Series seeks to provide a platform for students to interact with Ambassadors; learning about their experiences, thoughts and gaining their advice. Through the lens of the Ambassadors, students can contextualize China’s development in the international setting. 

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