China Friendship Games – Closing Remarks

President and Vice Chancellor Dr. John Harker
Remarks – Closing Banquet, Canada – China Friendship Games
2011-01-20 ~ Beijing, China

First, let me welcome you all to this CBU social evening and then thank you all. We have come to the end of a very successful program, built around, but not restricted to, the friendship games of basketball.

I really want to express my appreciation of all of the players and the teams, and I want to say a special word to our CBU students. They had a long flight, and went on the court the next day. Students make a university, and we are very proud of ours.

I told the players at one game that basketball was invented by a Canadian, and was being perfected every day right here in China.

The final game was played at a home of the CBA. There’s not much difference between CBA and CBU!

We should celebrate differences, and never let them keep us apart.

These have been the Friendship Games, after all.

Friendship, and the search for knowledge, this is what a university is all about.

We are a small university but with a global reach, witness our campus in Cairo.

I told our students there that Mohamed had said they should seek wisdom, “Be it as far as China”. So, we have come to find both friendship and knowledge or wisdom, and we have found both, thank you.

You can appreciate, I think, how much we are looking forward to a fine partnership with Renmin University, which has the motto, “seeking truth from facts”.

This would not have been possible without the marvellous help of Zhou Jing and her colleagues at ICC, and I would like to thank DG Zhang and Deputy Shu for enabling Madame Zhou to put such a priority on CBU’s China plans.

And, of course, I would like to thank that other fine agency of the NDRC, the China Center for Urban Development, not just for fielding a great basketball team, two of whose players wore a Caper uniform on Day 1, but also for engaging us positively of future collaboration. My thanks, then, to DG Li and his staff, his team. I think it helps that he’s such a keen basketball fan.

Another serious basketball fan, and player, is Party Secretary Huo of the famous Shougang Group.

I really need to thank President Wang and his great colleagues at SGIT, they have been wonderful, but from Secretary Huo I learned a lot about basketball: getting the ball into the corner at a shallow angle is very difficult to defend against.

I think he must be very difficult to defend against!

You can see here displayed the two basketball shirts I commissioned for this trip.

I told the Party Secretary that the colours of CBU were green — for the fields and forests of Cape Breton Island — and gold — for the brilliant sunsets we enjoy.

But three years ago we added two more colours, gray, for the steel we used to produce, and black, the colour of coal.

The gray shirt is our tribute to Shougang, and its proud history of steel making in Beijing. The shirt speaks to the very soul of Beijing.
Our team was happy to tour a Hutong, even in the cold. This gray is the colour of old Beijing’s enduring Hutongs, its timeless walls.

And thus it could be said to be the colour for that other enduring feature of life in Beijing, the government officials, so let me salute Shougang, its great city, and the officials who strive to keep it liveable.

The black, well, coal was first mined commercially in North America in 1734, at Port Morien, 20 miles from our campus.

Coal is our blood.

Of course, it has been mined in China for so much longer.

Anyone who has dipped into Joseph Needham’s magisterial work on science and civilization in China knows that mining and selling coal in China is a venerable industry here.

But it is also a modern one. We are very proud to be partnering with the Heliong Jiang Coal Commission, and I am delighted that DG Wang and his team have joined us this evening.

We at CBU believe in partnership, with government, industry, and, of course, the universities.

So a final word, if I may, to Renmin University.

The university grew out of the Shaan Bei Public School set up in 1937.

It was around that time that Joseph Needham, busy in his laboratory at Cambridge University, was struck by the arrival of a graduate student from China. The rest is history!

A university is its students and its scholars, who need to seek knowledge, the truth from facts, in community with others.

Our basketball players, as good as they are, are first of all students, members of a university community which encircles the planet, from Beijing to Cape Breton. Please join with me in celebrating this. Finally, thanks to our donors, Dorset, Cambridge Institute of Science and Technology, Kennedy, and especially the International Centre for English Academic Preparation (ICEAP).