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Introduction

The Brussels Academy for China and European Studies (BACES) is an initiative taken by VUB and three prominent Chinese universities, Renmin University of China, Fudan University and Sichuan University. The presidents of the four universities have signed the MOU setting up BACES on the occasion of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Brussels on 31 March 2014. 

The second Vice-Premier of China, LIU Yandong, and EU Commissioner Androulla VASSILIOU officially inaugurated BACES on 6 September 2014 in the reputed Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing. BACES is fully in line with the initiative that was taken by Liu and Vassiliou to launch and develop the “High Level People-to-People Dialogue (HPPD)” between China and the EU. As a practical carrier and implementation platform of the High Level People to People Dialogue (HPPD) mechanism, BACES will advance the research level and strengthen the influence of contemporary China studies in Europe. Meanwhile, the European youth will acquire more access to information and academic insight on China issues while participating in the intercultural studies and communications with Chinese scholars and students. It will also provide the Chinese scholars and students in European/EU studies with opportunities to achieve the same goals.

BACES is supported by a Chair sponsored by the Chinese multinational Huawei Technologies (Netherlands) B.V. – Belgian branch for 5 years. Support is granted for educational and research activities and the organisation of international conferences.

Aims of the chair

BACES’ primary aim is to look into the future, building up a feasible and sustainable platform with other partners for academic activities and other practical tasks. BACES will move forward the frontline of China’s academic activities in Europe, and will cultivate and reinforce young people’s interests and research levels on European/EU studies and contemporary China studies. This project will provide first-hand research material and information for Chinese and European researchers, as well as face-to-face communications for European researchers and their Chinese counterparts; it will ensure both sides share the research outcome of the joint programmes. BACES is to promote and deepen the cooperation of higher education organizations between both China and Europe on European/EU studies and contemporary China studies, to upgrade the present cooperation to a higher level, to engage in joint academic projects, to organize joint research teams, and to expand joint consulting activities for both governments and enterprises.

Duration

2014-2019

Holder of the chair: prof. dr. Romain Meeuwsen

Romain Meeusen, vice-rector International Relations, is a professor of the Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy of the VUB. In the past he has been active as head of the department of Human Physiology at the Faculty of Physical Education and Kinesitherapy and has held various chairs, including the Franqui chair of the ULB in 2009. Within the Faculty he has been Vice-Dean for Student Affairs (2012-2014), Vice-Dean and Acting Dean Physical Education and Physiotherapy (2013-2014). Since 2012 he is also a member of the Senate of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and sits in the Research Council and Innovation and Valorisation Council. 

Meeusen has been active in various international functions as well, being a former president of the Belgian Society of Kinesiology and the Belgian Federation of Sports Physiotherapy and having given more than 900 lectures at (inter)national scientific colloquia. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS) (2000-2013), and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) (2010-2013), where he was the first international member to become a Board Director. In 2017 he received an honorary Fellowship of the society for the promotion of science in Japan. He was also Adjunct Professor at the University of Cairns (Australia) and the University of Canberra, Australia. (2018-now).

His experience in international research and board activities, and his reputation as a much appreciated academic at the VUB and in the international academic community makes him particularly suited to help direct the International Relations policy during the next two years.