A delegation from Semmelweis University travelled to China at the invitation of the China-Central-Eastern-European Countries Hospital Cooperation Alliance. The visit provided opportunities for establishing new partnerships and contributed to increasing the university’s visibility in China. Dr. Béla Merkely, Rector, re-elected co-president of the Alliance, was represented by Dr. Attila Szabó, Vice-Rector for Clinical Affairs, at the Executive Committee Meeting, where Dr. Marcel Pop, Director of International Relations, also participated.
The four-day programme began with an Executive Committee Meeting organized for the members of the Hospital Cooperation Alliance at Peking Union Hospital. Dr Yupei Zhao, Chinese President of the Alliance, Dr. Xiaolin Xue, Secretary General, Dr. Shuyang Zhang, Vice-President of Peking Union Hospital, Dr. Tingbo Liang and Dr. Weilin Wang, representatives of the hospitals of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, as well as Dr. Jiazheng Tian, representing the Chinese Hospital Association, attended the meeting along with the members of the Hungarian delegation. During the meeting, the participants discussed the results achieved so far and the work plan of the association for the years 2019-2020, as well as the possibility of reviewing the Alliance Charter, leadership change and the expansion of the Alliance, and the need for further operationalizing the cooperation. At the Committee Meeting Dr. Béla Merkely was re-elected co-president, and Dr. Attila Szabó and Dr. Marcel Pop were nominated to become members of the Standing Council, which was unanimously supported by the committee.
Regarding the future activities of the Alliance, Semmelweis University’s delegation suggested extending the cooperation to further training programmes (nursing, health marketing) and also indicated that they were open to establishing partnerships within the Alliance for the Budapest Science Park project. They also invited Professor Zhao to attend the 250th Anniversary Jubilee Opening Ceremony.
Another important event of the visit to Beijing was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Peking University. Negotiations with the institution, which is currently ranked 22nd on the Times Higher Education’s list, were initiated by Dr. Zoltán Zsolt Nagy and Dr. László Rosivall on the occasion of their previous visit, with the assistance of the Embassy of Hungary in Beijing. At the meeting, Dr. Weimin Wang, Vice President of Peking University Health Science Centre, and Dr. Qiudan Sun, Director of International Cooperation, were present. In connection with the agreement signed by Dr. Weimin Wang and Dr. Attila Szabó, both parties agreed that they would like to fill it with practical content as soon as possible, primarily by launching the Erasmus + programme, as well as in the form of cooperation in research & development & innovation.
Following the meetings in Beijing, Dr. Attila Szabó and Dr. Marcel Pop travelled to Haikou to attend the Belt & Road International Healthcare Cooperation Promotion Conference. The conference provided an opportunity to present Semmelweis University and its Chinese relations. The plenary session in the morning was followed by a panel discussion with China Peking Union Hospital, moderated by Dr. Attila Szabó. The vice-rector stressed the importance of personal relationships and similar events, which give the opportunity to further strengthen existing relations, establish new partnerships and discuss new ideas. The topics of the forum included Traditional Chinese Medicine, the relationship between integrative medicine, eastern and western medicine, as well as the impact of the relationships within the alliance on society’s health. The newest, recently joined member of the Alliance, Estonia, was also presented.
In addition to the official programmes, the conference in Haikou also provided an opportunity for the university’s delegation to conduct further discussions. The conference was attended by Dr. Min Zheng, Vice-President of the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University’s School of Medicine, who visited Semmelweis University a few days earlier as a member of an official delegation. Continuing the ongoing negotiations, it was proposed to sign a document supplementing the previously signed Memorandum of Understanding, which would lay down the conditions for the implementation of the specific cooperation. In addition, Semmelweis University’s delegation proposed signing an Erasmus agreement, organizing joint scientific symposia, as well as sending and receiving guest lecturers.
It was also possible to have a shorter meeting with a representative of the Tianjin Health and Family Planning Commission, and the leaders of Hainan Province. During the former, the possible extension of the over ten-year-old cooperation with the Faculty of Health Sciences was discussed. Dr. Han Yingwei, Director General of the Health Commission of Hainan Province, and Dr. Attila Szabó talked about the possible contribution of Semmelweis University to the development of patient care in the Hainan Province, which could be realized through the organization of training programmes.
Cao He Ping, a Chinese businessman living in Hungary, played a key role in the organization of the meetings and initiated several extra-program negotiations for Semmelweis University’s delegation (e.g. with China News, Central South University).
In short, the visit provided an opportunity for establishing new partnerships and contributed to increasing the university’s visibility in China. Furthermore, the role of Semmelweis University in the China-Central-Eastern-European Countries Hospital Cooperation Alliance has also intensified.
Diána Módos, Directorate of International Relations
Photo: Directorate of International Relations / Chinese Hospital Association