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East Meets West: Deeply rooted in Beaconside, Stafford, with a global vision

21 February 2019

The signing and unveiling ceremony of New Beacon Research Institute for West and East Management.


February 5th marked the start of the Year of the Pig in the Chinese calendar. To coincide with the week-long celebration of this global phenomenon, also known as Chinese Spring Festival in China, an ambitious new research institute was unveiled on the 8th February, 2019 by the New Beacon Group at its Stafford Education and Enterprise Park campus.


As part of its vision to create a globally-connected university, the New Beacon Research Institute for West and East Management has been established jointly with Research Centre for East and West Management, Zhejiang University, one of China’s pre-eminent higher education research centres.


By promoting cross-cultural, critically-informed research around the major philosophical beliefs, management theories and practices, sustainable business relationships, and the changing dynamics of the global environment, it is intended that this institute will become a world-leading think-tank blending the best of western and Chinese cultures, philosophies and management approaches.


A memorandum of understanding between New Beacon Group and Zhejiang University was signed at a ceremony held on 8th February attended by Jeremy Lefroy, MP for Stafford, and Councillor Ray Barron, the Worshipful Mayor of Stafford along with other academic scholars from neighbouring universities.


Professor Richard Li-Hua, President of New Beacon, has highlighted before the signing and unveiling ceremony, “We are very privileged to work with Zhejiang University, one of top 5 pre-eminent universities in China for setting up New Beacon Research Institute for West and East management. This is important for us as we have a firm academic philosophy on West Meets East — Integration and Development of West and East Management Practices, Management Theories and Management Philosophies. Such a vision is currently important as West and East are facing different challenges.”


“If you look at the over 400 private or no-traditional educational providers in the UK, we are in a stronger and unique position that we are proud we have been revitalising the former university campus and bringing our own perspectives to the global higher education sector on a beautiful garden-like campus with well-established classrooms, lecture-theatre, seminar-rooms, conference facilities, gymnastics and sports facilities, student-accommodations as well as catering services on a grand area of 50 acres of land in the Borough of Stafford. However, we are setting research institutes, launching academic schools, creating and validating academic programmes now through which we are connecting with students, their parents, and stakeholders.”


“We have a clear vision that we are creating a globally-connected university in business, management and innovation, tackling the challenges and opportunities between west and east, and developing future leaders and managers. However, from the very beginning, we are creating niche and distinction with research on west and east management, innovation and creativity, employability, entrepreneurship, and global mind-set and global engagement.”


“We have a global vision in creating this university, however, we are deeply rooted in the Beaconside soil with UK standard. Locally, we want to play a key role in contributing to the local economy in partnership with government, business and industry and the community in the development of an innovation-oriented society.”


“I am grateful to Mr Lefray, our local MP, his worshipful Mayor and Mayoress of the Borough of Stafford, and colleagues and friends from many universities and cities who are attending this great event. In particular, I am grateful to Professor Kong, who has made this happens.”


Professor Linghong Kong from the East-West Management Research Center of Zhejiang University, as the representative of Zhejiang University signed a memorandum of understanding with New Beacon to jointly build New Beacon Research Institute for East & West Management. Professor Kong expressed that he will work closely with New Beacon to run and manage New Beacon Research Institute for East & West Management. The Research Institute is an interdisciplinary academic research institution that develops global talents, conducts academic research, holds international academic conferences, manages consulting services, and edits and publishes management-related series of books.


Jeremy Lefroy, local MP in Stafford, has expressed before the signing and unveiling ceremony, “I think it’s really important that your vision includes East & West interchange, East & West understanding and exchange because unless that happens then it will be a question of people talking to each other and not listening to each other. I spent 11 years running businesses in East Africa and it took a long time for me to begin to understand a different management philosophy that was involved in running businesses in East Africa. I was the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ethiopia. In Ethiopia there are a lot of Chinese businesses and British businesses. Both Chinese businesses and British businesses have challenges in operating in Ethiopia and understanding a very ancient and respected culture and how you fit in with that. So the kind of work that you are going to be doing here is vital. It is not just between East & West, it is also between north & south and globally. ”


“Globalisation will fail unless it is relevant locally. What we have seen, whether it is the result of the referendum on the EU exit in the UK, is that if people do not feel that globalisation works for them in their communities and respect their culture, then it will fail. People will say, ‘it’s not for us’. There has to be a way that globalisation – I would rather call it “global cooperation” rather than globalisation. Globalisation has almost become a negative word; if you saw The Economist recently, they called it “Slowbolisation”; it has become a word that people don’t particularly like especially if you are coming perhaps from the political left or even the political right. People are more concerned about what is going on in their local communities so let us to have “global cooperation” and that is what I think you, Richard, and your colleagues here are trying to establish: global understanding and global cooperation, specifically in the business context but in the wider context as well.”


“The challenges that the work faces today – whether it’s climate change, whether it’s global pandemics, particularly things like anti-microbial resistance – these challenges will not be overcome by Britain and China working alone, or by West & East working alone. I’m very glad to say that by China and the UK coming together…The work you are doing here will be a very important part of global cooperation.”


“I am delighted to be here at the beginnings of what I hope will be something that is really important and I’m very proud that it’s in Stafford. I have always had the desire that we should have our own University in Stafford and it will be fantastic to have a University with its headquarters right here in Stafford that has a global impact.”


Stafford Worshipful Mayor Ray Barron congratulated the signing and unveiling ceremony and stressed that “What you are doing now is showing the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of global educators and entrepreneurs. You are the leader of the global education and business. If you can create these, then it would provide a momentum and lifeblood for our social and economic development in the Borough of Stafford.”


The event was greatly supported by local governments and scholars from University of Birmingham and the University of Manchester. New Beacon Research Institute for East and West Management will create history, open up to the future, and move forward on its way.


Note from Richard:  This piece appeared on the Blog of the President is a collective effort. I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks for all the colleagues and friends who attended the event on the 8th February. In particular, a big thanks to Paul, Sue, Nicky, Shelly and Rob who has made great contribution to this piece of article.