CCC UNIRI Founding Meeting
Thursday, Nov 16 2017

The founding meeting of the University of Rijeka China-Croatia Cooperation Committee (CCC UNIRI) was held on Nov 15th, 2017, at the UNIRI Rectorate. H.E. Ante Simonić, M.D., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, was elected President of the Committee while the Decision on its establishment was made by the UNIRI Rector, prof. Snježana Prijić-Samaržija, Ph.D., on October 30th, 2017.

The Committee consists of seven members: 

three respected members of the community:
- H.E. Ante Simonić, M.D., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, former Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia in PR China and President of the Croatia-China Friendship Association Rijeka, who was elected President of the Committee
- Rita Zhao Simonić, Ph.D., and
- Mr. Predrag Sloboda, President of the National Sports Council; then:

- University representative Prof. Dora Smolčić Jurdana, Ph.D., Rector’s Assistant for Development policies and Promotion and          Dean of the UNIRI Faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management in Opatija
- City of Rijeka representative Mr. Ivan Šarar, Head of the Department of Culture of the City of Rijeka Administration;
- representative of the Primorsko-goranska County Ms. Dragica Marač, Head of the Department for Social Policy and Youth and
- Prof. Vidoje Vujić, Ph.D., President of the Croatian Chamber of Economy Rijeka 

Apart from permanent members, the Committee will also have associate members:

- Assistant Prof. Sanja Bojanić, Ph.D., UNIRI the Academy of Applied Arts 
- Prof. Goran Turkalj, Ph.D., Vice-Rector for Organization and Infrastructure Management
- Mr. Haris Pavletić, University of Rijeka Sport Association 
- Prof. Damir Zec, Ph.D., Madam Rector’s Assistant for Entrepreneurship 
- Prof. Pavao Komadina, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Madam Rector’s Adviser for Local Community Relations
- Mr. Boris Golob, Director of the Science and Technology Park STEPRI
- Prof. Krešimir Pavelić, Ph.D., Rector’s Advisor for International Partnership
- Prof. Saša Zelenika, Ph.D., Director of the Centre for Micro and Nano Sciences and Technologies (CMNZT). 

After the founding meeting a public presentation of the Committee was held in the Aula Magna. UNIRI Rector, prof. Snježana Prijić-Samaržija, Ph.D., and the newly appointed President of the Committee, H.E. Ante Simonić, M.D., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, addressed the audience.

‘’The main reason for the establishment of this Committee is the synergic strengthening of cooperation with the People's Republic of China. We are proud to have the University as the starting point, but we hope that the collaboration will expand. Each of the bodies whose representatives are members of this Committee already have already established collaboration with certain Chinese institutions. However, the primary goal of this Committee is to establish a mutually beneficial cooperation with China. China is a huge country which may be interested in cooperating with Croatia in numerous fields. We wish to establish strategic partnerships in the fields of technology, especially information-communicative technology, healthcare, art, sport, and culture. The ‘’Rijeka European Capital of Culture 2020’’ project is another platform for cooperation with the Chinese partners, along with Croatia´s presiding of the European Union in 2020. Furthermore, there is a great space for cooperation in the field of scholarships and student exchanges and, of course, in the maritime and transport domain'', Madam Rector stated. She introduced the abovementioned Committee members and granted special thanks to Prof. Ante Simonić, M.D., Ph.D., on his great contribution to the Chinese-Croatian relations, on whose development he has been working for years.

 ''This is a place whose positive energy should spread to other Croatian universities and Croatian cities. China is huge, and Croatia is small. China is the biggest importer and exporter in the world. It has $4000 billion in foreign exchange reserves; 2.5 million soldiers, the biggest highway system in the world... China is the biggest ‘’supermarket’’ in the world. Through this Committee, I want to help Croatia, other 16 countries which have agreements with China, and finally, the entire European Union, to establish and strengthen relations with this super powerful country. China will be a superpower, whether we support it or not. Our task is to suggest projects, offer them to China and increase our visibility with attractive projects. We are aware that this platform won’t solve all the problems Rijeka and Croatia have, but it can definitely create a space for cooperation and some new horizons’’, Prof. Simonić concluded.

In closing, following the official speeches, Ms. Rita Zhao Simonić, Ph.D., rendered a lovely musical program for all attendees.


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