The Nordic Centre at Fudan University, Shanghai

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The combined delegation of Management and Organisation,
and the Centre for International Business Studies (CIBS) of the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, at the Nordic Centre, Fudan University, Shanghai.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

It was a brief early morning walk from the Crowne Plaza Hotel to the Nordic Centre, located in the Handan campus of Fudan University, one of China’s top ranked universities.

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Inside the Nordic Centre with a glimpse of its mosaic mural.

Currently sharing location with the Foreign Affairs Office of Fudan University, the Nordic Centre was opened by the Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland together with the President of Fudan University, Professor Yang Fujia in 1995. It was to be a platform for collaboration between the university and the 14 Nordic universities located in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Today, the centre has 27 university affiliates that include the University of Iceland.

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The first day of our stay was spent with interesting discussions between our groups and the Nordic Centre, Fudan University, Shanghai.

The main activities of the centre include initiating and coordinating cooperation between Nordic member universities and Chinese universities, in the promotion and support of research and education projects across countries.

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Situated in the Handan campus, the university’s main campus grounds, the centre is cosily nestled amidst a vibrant university landscape that has numerous sculptures scattered throughout its gardens and pathways. Beautiful rocks with poems carved onto its surface can also be found throughout the campus. These works of art cannot help but attract the eye and encourage even the busiest of us to stop and ponder their form and meaning.

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Numerous sculptures decorate the Handan campus. One of my favourites is this ring that from a side perspective looks like an ‘infinity’ symbol while it is actually a circle. A Möbius strip also comes to mind, but the sculpture having five sides and the ends not meeting, makes it very thought provoking.

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Prominent in Shanghai’s landscape outside of Lujiazui is the Guanghua Twin Towers. The highest structures built in any university in China, they stand more than thirty storeys high at 140.5 meters, in the middle of the main campus grounds.

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Bicycles and scooters make standard modes of transportation in Shanghai, prominent on university grounds.

What struck me most when visiting the Nordic Centre at Fudan University’s Handan campus was how campus life, that included the layout of buildings and the ongoing student activities here seemed closely parallel to one of USA’s Ivy League universities, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) located in Philadelphia.

A brief glimpse of a collection of students on bicycles gathered to the side of a pathway, intently chatting and planning their next meet, lent insight into how it is on these grounds that language and cultures are bridged, supportive collaborations are formed and where student living make a lifetime of friendships forged in fond memories.