The Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University(IASZNU) is the first institute for comprehensive African studies in Chinese higher education institutions. With a lofty international perspective, IASZNU aims to build an open academic platform to attract domestic and foreign talent, and through strenuous efforts in the coming years, to become a leading academic institute serving the country’s foreign strategy, regional social and economic development and the construction of the disciplines of Zhejiang Normal University(ZNU).
IASZNU has professor Liu Hongwu, Qianjiang Scholar (Chair Professor of Zhejiang Provincial Government), as its director. Professor Gu Jianxin, Deputy director the Department of Foreign Affairs of Zhejiang Provincial Government ,serves as the deputy director of IASZNU.
IASZNU currently has 25 full-time personnel, of whom 4 are professors (1 is a chair professor of Zhejiang Province, 2 are PhD supervisors), 5 are associate professors/researchers and 16 are assistant researchers with PhDs. IASZNU also has over 5 guest professors and concurrent researchers.
There are 4 research centers under IASZNU, namely, the Center for African Political and International Relations Studies, the Center for African Economic Studies , the Center for African Educational Studies and the Center for African Historical and Cultural Studies. IASZNU has undertaken to compile the ZNU African Studies Series and to start the journal of African Studies. The Center for African Arts and Media Production and the Center for African Investment and Trade Consulting are under-construction. The Center for Books and Materials on Africa has a collection of more than 5,000 volumes of African books and materials, of which foreign books account for over 1,600. The center has also subscribed to over 90 journals (34 of which are foreign). IASZNU has set up its own website(http://ias.zjnu.cn) and has started a newsletter highlighting the latest developments of the institute.
IASZNU enrols postgraduates and foreign students in the two disciplines of world history and comparative education, and sends students with outstanding academic performances to study in African universities on joint education programs.
Since the 1990s, ZNU has been stepping up efforts to promote Sino-African educational cooperation, and to boost the construction of the discipline of Afrian studies. In 1996, ZNU founded the Chinese Language Center in Cameroon(It has evolved into a Confucius Institute by now.); in 2001, ZNU began to undertake training programs for aiding Africa commissioned by the Ministry of Education, and became an MOE (Ministry of Education) Educational Aid Center for Africa & Asia; in 2003, the Center for African Educational Studies was set up; in 2006, ZNU hosted the 1st Sino-African University Presidents Forum, and in 2007, ZNU founded IASZNU.
After over a decade of development, the construction of the discipline of African studies at ZNU has demonstrated its comprehensive value and its relevance in serving the the country’s foreign strategy. In the Africa Investigation Work Report delivered to the central government by the State Leading Group for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, on which Premier Wen Jiabao had written comments, ZNU is highly praised for its work in supporting the country’s work on Africa. Secretary of the Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China(CPC) Zhao Hongzhu, governor of Zhejiang Province Lu Zushan, vice governor Zheng Jiwei and high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Education and the State Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language have praised IASZNU’s work when inspecting the institute.
IASZNU is located by the picturesque Xinyue Lake at the campus, comprising Yifu Building and Tonghui Pavilion. With a floor space of more than 1,800 square meters, IASZNU has a meeting room, a lecture hall, a multi-media classroom, a reception building, over 20 research rooms, as well as other facilities. IASZNU occupies one of the campus’s most beautiful areas with a glittering lakeview and exuberant trees and bamboos, making it an ideal place for academic research.