Call for Papers: One day conference on Transnational Higher Education and the China Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)


Where: University of Manchester, Manchester, UK (Ellen Wilkinson Building)

When: 8 November 2018, 11.00 am – 5.00 pm



1. Abstracts of 300 words and full author details (name, position, institutional affiliation(s),

email address and telephone number) should be submitted by 1 October 2018.

2. Submissions should be sent via email to conference organisers at:

3. Contributors will be notified about the outcome of their submission by 8th October 2018.


We are inviting paper proposals for a one-day conference on: Transnational Higher Education and the China Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

The Higher Education Research Network at the University of Manchester (HERE@Manchester) is hosting a one-day conference on China, international higher education, and transnational partnerships. Funded by the University of Manchester and the Confucius Institute, the conference will explore emerging research themes around the higher education in the context of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This scheme, involving over $5 trillion in investments in some 65 countries, is an important strategic initiative of the Chinese government. Although better known for large physical infrastructure projects, the BRI also includes ‘people-to-people’ and educational initiatives. These latter issues are relatively understudied and provide an opportunity to study important trends in international higher education.

This small-scale conference is meant to provide a space for an active discussion of issues. It welcomes a variety of perspectives on transnational higher education, mobility of students and researchers, and new directions of global higher education and related themes. The central aim of the conference is to study the BRI Initiative as a potential factor in the development of global higher education. It will explore both opportunities and tensions around the emergence of China as a major player in this field and the responses of various stakeholders to these trends. Given the relatively recent nature of the BRI, we welcome academic works in various degrees of progress. We also encourage contributions from early career researchers.


Suggested Themes

Contributions will explore (but are not limited to) the following themes related to the BRI:

a) New conceptions of transnational higher education with respect to regionalisation and globalisation

b) Local and regional development and higher education

c) The role of higher education institutions in diplomacy and geopolitics

d) Research and higher education partnerships along the Belt and Road

e) Potential effects on higher education teaching and learning


Invited Speakers

The Conference will include keynotes and contributions from:

 Professor Yang Rui (University of Hong Kong), Associate Dean for Cross-border / International Engagement

 Dr. Cora Lingling Xu (Keele University), Founder of the Network for Research into Chinese Education Mobilities (NRCEM)

 Professor Peter Hays Gries (University of Manchester), Director of the Manchester China Institute

The conference organisers will propose a special issue in a relevant academic journal based on the insights from the papers presented at the conference.



The conference is free to attend and there will be lunch and refreshments.

There are also limited travel bursaries (of up to £ 100) available for presenters (PhD students and early career researchers). If you are interested in applying, please indicate this in your submission.

To register to attend, please go to Eventbrite:

For questions, please contact the conference organising team:

Miguel Lim ( ),

Heather Cockayne ( and

Helen Chan (


About the University of Manchester

The University of Manchester is host to range of research and teaching initiatives related to China. It has recently established a major centre for China studies and a new Chinese culture gallery at the Manchester Museum, the largest University museum in the UK, displaying artefacts such as ancient bronze sculptures, carved jade and textiles.

About the City of Manchester

Manchester hosts a vibrant Chinatown at the heart of the city, the renowned Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, and an annual large-scale Chinese New Year celebration among other Chinese cultural events. Its universities host a large population of overseas Chinese students.

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