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Kevin Sui

In this year's China Institute Li Siguang Distinguished Lecture, renowned international broadcaster Kevin Sui will explore how understanding culture is more important than being proficient in each other’s languages if China and the UK want to grow closer.

The long time journalist and media owner, who is also Controller of China Hour on Sky channel 192, will deliver his talk ‘China UK Cross-cultural communication: A media and language observation’ online at 19.00 GMT on Thursday, 19 November 2020.

Kevin’s lecture and associated panel discussion will be streamed on YouTube and you can register for the event free-of-charge. The lecture will also be available on the University of Birmingham’s WeChat account. 

Kevin will explore how media outlets and the English language are vital in bringing people in China and the UK together – but not without an in-depth understanding of people and culture in each society.

His lecture will be followed by a panel discussion involving Mr Sui and a range of University of Birmingham speakers:

  • Prof Jon Frampton - Deputy Pro-vice Chancellor (China) and Director of China Institute;
  • Dr Berny Sèbe - Head of Internationalisation, School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music;
  • Dr John Goodyear -Lecturer, English as a Modern Foreign Language; and
  • Shiyu He - Postgraduate Researcher in Linguistics.

Kevin Sui commented: "The closer relationship between China and the West including Britain in the past four decades has witnessed massive exchanges in terms of trade, investment, culture, and personnel. People from China and the UK are benefiting from the ever stronger connection, which won't be possible without the help of language.

“English is the most popular foreign language among students in China and now we have more than a hundred thousand Chinese students coming to study in the UK every year. On the UK side, there are also more British students learning Chinese. At least 5,000 secondary school students will achieve fluency in Mandarin this year.”

He added that ability to speak a language was the key to communicating with another country, but language proficiency on its own was not enough – recommending that all foreign language learners dived deeper into the culture of the country in question.

Professor Jon Frampton commented: “We’re looking forward to hearing Kevin’s exploration of the cultural and language differences between the UK and China, together with his insights as a renowned international broadcaster on how our countries can grow closer together.

“The University of Birmingham has long-established and valued links with China and we are proud of our growing reputation in China – both for delivering high-quality education and research partnerships with a global impact.”

  • For more information, interviews and an embargoed copy of the research paper, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or +44 (0)782 783 2312. For out-of-hours enquiries, please call +44 (0) 7789 921 165.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • The history of collaboration between China and the University of Birmingham dates back almost to the foundation of the University in 1901. The China Institute was created to reflect the University’s extensive academic activities its colleagues undertake in China.
  • Kevin Sui has spent the past 30 years on newspaper, radio, TV and online media in both China and the UK. He used to be a reporter for Economic Daily of China and had been working for BBC World Service for 11 years before taking a commercial role at China Daily Europe. He started his own media company offering his TV programme China Hour on Sky and publishing an English travel magazine Amazing China for the UK market.
  • The University of Birmingham is proud of its long history of engagement with China, welcoming its first students from China in 1907.
  • Known as the ‘father of Chinese geology, Li Siguang was one of our first graduates from China, who studied in the University’s School of Mining. Born in Huanggang, Hubei Province in 1889, he arrived at Birmingham in 1914, receiving his BSc in 1917 and his MSc in 1918. He was awarded a doctorate from the University of Birmingham in 1931, having spent several years researching geology in China.
  • Li Siguang is one of the best-known scientists in China, with a record of important discoveries as an academic. In geological circles, his work inspired the theory of plate dynamics and understanding how continents and oceans move around the planet. He was behind the discovery of much of China’s oil and gas reserves. He was a pioneer in predicting earthquakes, a trailblazer in establishing the geological history of China and an acute discoverer of new resources. His daughter studied for an MSc in Metallurgy Physics at the University of Birmingham, graduating in 1948.