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Honorary International Pro Chancellor

Professor Zhong Binglin

Professor Zhong Binglin

Professor Zhong Binglin has been of President of Beijing Normal University since 2001. Prior to that he was Director General, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education, People's Republic of China. He is also a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Southeast University in Nanjing and a visiting Professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Born in Beijing in July 1951, Professor Zhong has had a prestigious career in Chinese Higher Education after gaining his Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering at Nanjing Institute of Technology in 1977. He went on to gain his Masters in Mechanical Engineering at Nanjing Southeast University in 1986, and his PhD at Cardiff University in 1994 under the supervision of Dr John Brandon. Professor Zhong's association with Cardiff was the result of a link initiated by his mentor, Professor Huang Ren who first sent a research student to Cardiff in 1986. Hearing positive reports of the engineering research at Cardiff, Professor Zhong came to Cardiff on study leave in 1990, rather than his original destination of Montreal. Whilst here he decided he would like to read for his PhD at Cardiff, and so began his long association with Cardiff University.

Since 1977 he has worked in a variety of roles; he was at Nanjing Southeast University until 1996 where he served as both Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering between 1991-1994 and Vice-President of the Southeast University 1994-1996. After a short time with the China State Education Commission Professor Zhong was appointed in 1996 as the Director General of the Department of Higher Education. In 2001 he became President of Beijing Normal University.

It is no coincidence that the "People's Daily" reported in September 2000 that "China's higher education system has made breakthroughs and decisive achievements during 1996-2000". Professor Zhong spearheaded those achievements and led some of the biggest changes in the Chinese Higher Education system to date. Statistics from the State Development Planning Commission showed that until April 2000, China had 1,814 universities and colleges with 11 million students, and the enrolment rate had reached 11% of young people aged between 18 and 22. As China continued its reform in the education system, 450 universities and colleges merged into 188 universities. Professor Zhong had long realised the value of education; he publicly highlight the role of science, technology and education in realising China's goals.

He also oversaw the biggest investment in Higher Education in China - Project 211. The project aimed to raise the quality of education, research, management and running of universities in approximately 100 key universities throughout China to form the basis of a seed-bed of talented people to manage China's future economic construction. Presiding over this extraordinary, exciting activity, Professor Zhong showed foresight, social awareness and determination.

Throughout a period of massive challenges and achievements in his role in the Ministry of Education, Professor Zhong continued to find the time and dedication needed to continue his academic research interests and supervise talented young engineering students at Southeast University. He is also the Honorary President of the Cardiff University Chinese Alumni Association. Over the years he has performed a leading role in many of the scientific societies of China, including the National Society of Mechanical Engineering and the National Society of Vibration Engineering. He was a member of the Professional Commission on Time Series Analysis for the Chinese Society of Probability and Statistics, the Secretary-General of the Eastern China Branch of the Chinese Society of Vibration Engineering and Editor of the Journal of Dynamic Analysis, Data Acquisition and Signal Processing. His research has been supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

In his current role as President of Beijing Normal University, one of the top institutions in China and highly regarded in particular for research in the fields of psychology and education, President Zhong continues to have close links with Cardiff. He has returned to Cardiff on several occasions and has hosted visits from Cardiff at Beijing Normal as well. In November 2005, in a visit hosted by British Minister John Dennis, President Zhong, already an Honorary Fellow of Cardiff University graciously indicated that he would accept the role of the first Honorary International Vice-President at Cardiff University. This honour was formally given during a ceremony in Beijing on Monday 2 April 2007 by British Minister Barbara Woodward, and is effective until 31 July 2010.