Building a bridge between Venice and China

Ca’Foscari University of Venice

In 2017 Ca’ Foscari University of Venice launched a project to increase the university’s presence and engagement abroad called the Ca’ Foscari University Offices in the World. The first of these offices, the Ca’ Foscari University Suzhou Office, was inaugurated in February 2017. The office is hosted on the campus of an important institutional partner, Soochow University.

The opening of the Suzhou Office is a tangible manifestation of Ca’ Foscari University’s distinctive openness to the world.  The office was conceived to facilitate regular contact with China’s linguistic, cultural and intellectual context in the desire to catalyze meaningful exchange through the production of impactful research and cultural initiatives. Examples include facilitating collaborative research projects with Chinese colleagues, creating opportunities for Ca’ Foscari students to travel to China for an enriching academic experience, and helping to disseminate a knowledge of Italy’s language and culture among the Chinese. Ca’ Foscari’s decision to launch an overseas office in Suzhou is the result of a number of factors. The most important is the fact that Ca’ Foscari and Soochow University have a long-standing relationship of scholarly collaboration and exchange. Secondly, the cities in which these two universities are located are linked in a number of ways. Not only are Venice and Suzhou both characterized by systems of canals and bridges – Suzhou, in fact, is often referred to as the “Venice of the East” – but they also have intertwined histories: in 1980, Venice and Suzhou became the first European and Chinese cities to be officially twinned.