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East China Normal University (ECNU) has carried out international contacts since its establishment to promote high-level and substantive international cooperation and exchanges in an open, inclusive and shared manner. In the 1950s, ECNU sent the first batch of teachers and students to the former Soviet Union for further study, and introduced foreign experts to serve as advisers to the president of the university; in 1965 and 1979, the International Students Office and the Foreign Affairs Office (specific institutions in charge of foreign exchanges) were established respectively; stepping into the 21st century, in the process of building a world-renowned high-level research university, ECNU has taken a number of appropriate measures in terms of faculty building, talent cultivation, education guidelines, and management services to promote the process of internationalization.
As one of the three major development strategies of ECNU, internationalization has been deemed as the inevitable option for realizing the school’s three missions (education, civilization and development) in the new era. ECNU has been actively seeking global partners, successively establishing close cooperative relations with more than 300 universities and scientific research institutions in Europe, America, Asia, and Oceania. According to the 2022 World University Rankings as released by Times Higher Education, ECNU ranks third in mainland China and first in Shanghai in terms of International Outlook.
ECNU strives to create iconic and international school-running programs. Specifically, in 2002, the joint graduate student cultivation program between ECNU and the ENS Group of France was established, which is known as a model of Sino-French educational cooperation; in 2012, ECNU and New York University jointly established New York University Shanghai, which is an important part of the "National Education Comprehensive Reform Pilot Zone" jointly established by Shanghai Municipality and the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China. Relying on this platform, the two Universities jointly established 6 research centres; in 2015, ECNU established the Asia Europe Business School (AEBS) with Emlyon Business School; in 2016, Sino-Russian Joint Institute of Technology was co-established by ECNU and St. Petersburg State Institute of Technology; in 2018, ECNU-UA Joint Institute of Advanced Science and Technology was jointly established between ECNU and the University of Alberta; in 2020, ECNU was approved as one the first batch of universities in the "High-level International Talent Training Innovation Practice Base" of the Sino-Foreign Cultural Exchange Centre of the Ministry of Education.