Professor Frank Youngman, vice president of Botswana Open University (BOU), visited the Open University of China (OUC) on 29 April 2019 while he was attending the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

On the morning of 29 April, Professor Youngman was invited to attend the 38th Professor Development Forum held by the OUC Education Research Institute and Department of International Cooperation and Exchange. Over 20 faculty representatives from relevant departments attended the forum, including Wang Ying and Li Wei, dean and vice dean of the OUC Education Research Institute, Chen Haishan and Shi Yunzhi, director and deputy director of the OUC International Cooperation and Exchange Department, and Han Yi, director of the Quality Supervision and Evaluation Centre. The forum was presided over by Wang Xiangxu, deputy head of the International and Comparative Education Centre of the OUC Education Research Institute.

Before the forum started, Wang Ying gave a welcome speech to all the attendees and thanked Professor Youngman for coming. He said that he hoped that hoped that the event could explore further research between the OUC and the BOU.

Professor Youngman delivered a speech titled “Building a Lifelong Learning Institution in Botswana: Learning from and with China,” in which he introduced BOU and described the valuable experience that BOU has gained from China and the traditional friendships and international cooperation between China and Africa. During the forum, Professor Youngman took questions from the audience. In the final stage of the forum, Wang Ying, Li Wei, and Chen Haishan gave summaries and offered comments on the lecture given by Professor Youngman and extended their thanks for his wonderful presentation.

In the afternoon, Professor Youngman visited the super cloud classroom and met with university leaders and representatives from other departments. The symposium was attended by relevant OUC personnel, including Yang Xiaotang, vice president, Chen Haishan and Shi Yunzhi, director and deputy director of International Cooperation and Exchange Department, Han Yi, director of the Quality Supervision and Evaluation Centre, Sun Hongfei deputy director of the Academic Affairs Department, and Li Wei, vice dean of the Education Research Institute. The symposium was presided over by Chen Haishan. The OUC and BOU have already held in-depth discussions on issues such as the organisational structure of open universities, quality assurance, and reform and development. Yang Xiaotang suggested that the two sides carry out positive cooperation in the field of educational in combination with the Belt and Road Initiative. In addition, the two sides have reached a common understanding with regard to strengthening cooperation in the future.

Professor Frank Youngman joined BOU in 1975 and retired in 2015. He served as director of the Institute of Adult Education (2005-2011). His book The Political Economy of Adult Education and Development was the winner of the 2001 Cyril O. Houle Award of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education for Outstanding Literature in Adult Education. From 2011-2015, he served as deputy vice chancellor of Academic Affairs, when he was mainly responsible for work related to the construction of the Confucius Institute and the Department of Chinese Studies. From 2013 to 2015, he was Secretary of the university’s Africa-China Research Group and began publishing on issues related to China’s involvement in Africa. Since 2017, he has undertaken the position of vice president of BOU, taking care of the university’s academic affairs, including undergraduate and graduate programmes, teaching technology, research plans, quality assurance, continuing vocational development courses, and international cooperation and internationalisation.

By Wang Xiangxu, OUC