UBC-ECNU Joint Research Core Group

UBC大学  -  华东师范大学  现代中国与世界联合研究中心


On October 16, 2012 Presidents Steven Toope of The University of British Columbia (UBC) and Chen Qun of East China Normal University (ECNU) formally establish the ECNU-UBC Joint Research Core Group on Modern China in the World (UBC-ECNU 现代中国与世界联合研究中心: hereafter, Joint Core Group/联合中心), to promote academic cooperation on the study of modern China and the world with a focus on modern Chinese thought and society. The Joint Core Group coordinates faculty research and exchanges, graduate student training, and joint research workshops, conferences and training institutes.

The Joint Core Group is established simultaneously at ECNU and UBC: at UBC it will be located in the Institute of Asian Research, and at ECNU it will be located in the Si Mian Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities.

The Joint Core Group has dual directors – one at UBC and one at ECNU – responsible for implementing its activities. The current co-directors are Professor Timothy Cheek (UBC) and Professor XU Jiin (ECNU).

ECNU is a high level normal university founded in October 1951, based on the former Great China University and Kwang Hua University, incorporated with part of Fudan University and Tongji University. ECNU was one of the first 16 universities officially graded as National Key Universities in 1959. This status was reaffirmed in 1978. ECNU was also one of the first 33 higher education institutions authorized, by the State Council in 1986, to establish their graduate schools. In 1996, ECNU passed the prerequisites appraisal and became one of universities sponsored by the major national program “Project 211”. In 2006, the Ministry of Education and Shanghai Municipality signed into a partnership for co-sponsoring the development of the university, qualifying ECNU as a member of the “Project 985” and facilitating ECNU’s efforts and progress towards a world renowned high level research university.

East China Normal University attaches great importance to the internationalization in its development and enjoys a wide influence and reputation in the world. The University has established strategic cooperative partnership with many major universities, such as ENS Group in France, the University of Pennsylvania and New York University, Tokyo University and Kobe University in Japan, and the University of Melbourne in Australia.

The IAR is one of several units at UBC (including the Department of Asian Studies and Faculty of Education) that has ongoing exchange activities with ECNU.


The Joint Core Group organizes collaborative faculty research, graduate training, and joint conferences and workshops based at UBC and ECNU but also including other cooperating institutions, such as the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Australian Centre on China in the World at the Australian National University.


Since 2002, The University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada and East China Normal University (ECNU), Shanghai, China have established a fruitful decade-long academic cooperation in the fields of Chinese thought and social research, including faculty exchanges, joint conferences and workshops and shared graduate training.

UBC and ECNU cosponsored a major international conference (held in Shanghai) in December 2002, UBC sent faculty to a follow‐on conference with ECNU (held in Hong Kong in 2003), hosted a visiting faculty at UBC from ECNU (Professor XU Jilin) for a semester in 2004, and since 2005 we have had extended exchange of PhD students for a year’s study (that is, one ECNU to UBC as visiting fellow, and one or more UBC PhD candidates at ECNU in Shanghai for a year—in each case students attended seminars and participated in the graduate training life; on average, one student each way, each year). Both Tim Cheek and Tim Brook have been hosted as visiting faculty at ECNU in recent years.

In January 2012, UBC and ECNU signed a Go Global Student Mobility Agreement with two graduate students coming to UBC in 2012-13 and one in 2013-14.

Oct. 2012 – Agreement for the Joint Core Group signed by the two presidents in Vancouver.

Nov. 2012 – IAR delegation headed by Tim Cheek & Yves Tiberghien (the new director) takes three other faculty–Amy Hanser (Sociology), Brian Job (Liu, Political Science) and Josephine Chiu-Duke (Asian Studies) to workshop and planning session at ECNU in Shanghai. Joint Research Core Group is formally inaugurated at ceremony in Shanghai.

March 2013 – Joint Research Core Group is formally inaugurated at UBC by ECNU Chair of the Administrative Council (Party Secretary) Tong Shijun and Provost David Farrar.

June 2013 – Joint Research Core Group activity: A four-day Summer Institute on Intellectual History for Young Professors (also including University of California, Berkeley) and a following workshop on “Rethinking ‘Modern Chinese History'”.

Planned: graduate training workshop on Chinese history at UBC summer 2014.


UBC co-director: Professor Timothy Cheek, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia (contact: t.cheek@ubc.ca)

ECNU co-director: Professor Xu Jilin (许纪霖), Si Mian Institute, East China Normal University, Shanghai (contact: jl_xu@history.ecnu.edu.cn)