Macao Polytechnic Institute (MPI), Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS), and the School of Professional and Continuing Education, University of Hong Kong (HKUSPACE) gathered online in the morning of June 8 and signed an agreement to establish the “Greater Bay Area Portuguese Language Education Alliance”. The establishment of the Alliance aims to further implement the “Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area” to promote development and cooperation in the education and curriculum of the three regions and to foster the integration, innovation, sharing and development of Portuguese language education via the exchange of teachers and students, the organization of joint academic seminars and academic competitions, and the deepening of cooperation and development in research projects of various aspects.
At the signing ceremony, President of MPI Im Sio Kei stated that the Alliance is the first of its kind in the field of Portuguese language teaching and research under the cooperation framework of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. It is established to implement the “Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area” and is an important manifestation of the joint efforts to build superior disciplinary infrastructure and to enhance the academic level of the three regions. Embracing a history of over a hundred years in the field of Chinese-Portuguese Translation and Interpretation and Portuguese language teaching, in recent years, MPI has been integrating its two prestigious programmes - Portuguese Language and Computing - and has made breakthroughs in the fields of machine translation and artificial intelligence. Last December, the “Engineering Research Centre of Applied Technology on Machine Translation and Artificial Intelligence, Ministry of Education”, the first national engineering research centre in Hong Kong and Macao, was inaugurated at MPI under the permission of the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. Since then, the Chinese-Portuguese Neural Network Machine Translation System has been developed and has obtained its own proprietary intellectual property rights. The System is now the world’s leading machine translation system; it has been applied in the Greater Bay Area, Portuguese-speaking countries and the countries of the “Belt and Road” and has received unanimous positive feedback. President Im believes that through the establishment of the Alliance, the three regions will join hands, pool strengths, share resources and deepen cooperation to elevate the overall academic level of Portuguese language in the Greater Bay Area, to help nurture more high-end Chinese and Portuguese bilingual talents, and to write a new page for the comprehensive and in-depth cooperation and exchange between the Greater Bay Area and the Portuguese-speaking countries as well as the multi-dimensional integration into our nation’s “Belt and Road” development plan.
President of GDUFS Shi Youqi expressed that the University has always attached great importance to educational exchange and cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao and has established close cooperation with a good number of universities in Hong Kong and Macao. Recently launched projects have included cross scholar exchanges, student exchanges and cooperative research studies, to name a few, and have achieved fruitful results. In December 2019, GDUFS and MPI signed the cooperation agreement “Bay Area Campus”, marking the beginning of the project and the launching of a new paradigm in the cultivation of higher education talents for the three regions in the future. Soon the three universities, GDUFS and MPI with the addition of HKUSPACE, joined forces and established the “Greater Bay Area Portuguese Language Education Alliance”. As a new starting point for integration into the Greater Bay Area, GDUFS will deepen multi-disciplinary cooperation and exchange with universities in the Bay Area and the Portuguese-speaking countries and regions. President Shi believes that the establishment of the Alliance will help explore new trends in the cooperation and development of higher education among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao. It will enhance the competitiveness of the Portuguese language education in the Bay Area and will create a new model with international perspective and standard for the higher education of China.
Director of HKUSPACE Lee William K.M. thanked MPI for proposing the establishment of the “Greater Bay Area Portuguese Language Education Alliance”. He also recognizes the academic achievements that MPI has acquired over the years and its recognition as the first higher education institution in Macao being internationally accredited by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). Being the fifth most spoken language in the world, the Portuguese language has a growing demand of learning in Hong Kong lately. The HKUSPACE has been actively offering diploma programmes in Portuguese language to meet the local demand for Portuguese-speaking professionals. Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries have joined the “Belt and Road” initiative. The establishment of the Alliance is timely and essential to support the development of the “Belt and Road”, particularly in strengthening cooperation with Portuguese-speaking countries in the trade and the services sectors. Director Lee also stated that the establishment of the Alliance marks a milestone for education cooperation in the Greater Bay Area and HKUSPACE is proud to be part of this national plan. He looks forward to joining hands with MPI and GDUFS, and to exploring the unlimited potential in the Portuguese language education in the Greater Bay Area.
The President of MPI Im Sio Kei, the President of GDUFS Shi Youqi and the Director of HKUSPACE Lee William K.M. represented the three universities and signed the agreement. Officiating guests included Lei Ngan Lin, Vice-President of MPI, who was also the host of the ceremony; Jiao Fangtai, Vice-President of GDUFS; Ke Xiaohua, Director of theOfficeofHong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Affairs of GDUFS; Lu Lu, Deputy Director of theOfficeofHong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Affairs of GDUFS; Yang Ke, Director of the Faculty of European Languages & Cultures of GDUFS; John Cribbin, Deputy Director of Academic Services of HKUSPACE; Chan Dorothy T.F., Deputy Director of Administration and Resources of HKUSPACE; Lo Sonny S.H., Deputy Director of Arts and Sciences of HKUSPACE; Kwong T.M., Head of the College of Humanities and Law of HKUSPACE, Mak Siu Min, Executive Assistant to the Director of HKUSPACE; Han Lili, Director of the School of Languages and Translation of MPI; Zhang Yunfeng, Director of the Centre for Portuguese Studies; Rosa Bizarro, Programme Coordinator of the Doctoral Degree Programme of Portuguese of MPI, and others.View gallery