The university is one of several joint venture higher education institutes set up by foreign universities in the country in collaboration with local counterparts over the last few years. Duke Kunshan is a project between the USA’s Duke University and China’s Wuhan University.
With English as their working language and classes open to both domestic and international students, joint venture universities in China represent a new type of higher education provider that offers a truly international experience to students.
“Duke Kunshan aims to become a world-leading model of sustainable development”
There are currently over 4,000 higher education institutions in China but only a quarter are permitted to accept international students, of which there are now close to half a million in the country.
Representatives from Duke and Wuhan Universities, as well as local government and party officials, attended the event.
The university’s new campus is following a global trend in trying to create more environmentally-friendly universities.
“Duke Kunshan aims to become a world-leading model of sustainable development. All of the buildings in phase two are consistent with sustainable and flexible design principles,” Ning Bai, general manager of the phase two construction project, explained.
Work has also started on the Duke Kunshan Gardens, inspired by traditional Chinese water towns.
“We are building something unique at Duke Kunshan,” chancellor Youmei Feng said.
“As with the first phase of construction, these new buildings will be aesthetically impressive and distinctive, but more importantly they will serve our mission to create dynamic spaces for students, faculty and staff to interact and engage.”
The expansion of the institute will, upon the completion of phase two, see 26 new classrooms and between 18 and 22 new labs, along with halls of residence and new living spaces.
“As well as improving the university’s advanced library and sports facilities, the project will include the WHU-Duke Research Institute, a visitor centre and a community centre,” the university added in a statement.
Located between Suzhou and Shanghai, Duke Kunshan was established in 2013 and welcomed its first graduate students the following year.
This year the university will welcome its second undergraduate class of students.