During SIGNAL’s May 2015 trip to China, Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) Vice President, Yan Guohua hosted the signing ceremony with SIGNAL, finalizing the collaboration agreement that would establish an Israeli Studies Program (ISP). This new program will be taught out of BFSU’s Arabic Studies Department. The program was inaugurated with a an academic lecture to the Arab Studies students. on China-Israel relations by SIGNAL Executive Director, Carice Witte. The talk was hosted by the department’s Dean, Xue Qinguo.Executive Director Witte spoke on Israeli History and China-Israel Relations. Her talk traced the history of the first Jewish presence in China to 998 CE, when Jews from Babylonia (current day Iraq) settled in Kaifeng, Henan. The Kaifeng Jews maintained a strong community in China for over one thousands years.
BFSU teaches more languages than any university in China. It was recently honored by the EU in being chosen as the venue to celebrate 40years of China-EU relations because all languages spoken in the EU are taught at BFSU.
Over 400 graduates of BFSU have gone on to become Ambassadors for China. In addition to BFSU’s large number of language learning programs, it also specializes in the areas of literature, linguistics, translation and culture studies.
Emphasizing foreign studies, the university serves as a training ground for China’s diplomatic corp. Located in China’s political hub, BFSU maintains substantial academic connections worldwide and produces influential alumni and faculty in the field of diplomacy. Among all the foreign language schools in China, BFSU offers the widest range of foreign language majors. BFSU’s School of Asian and African Studies (北京外国语大学亚非学院) alone offers a total of 16 foreign languages, including Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, Urdu, Hindi, Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian, Burmese, Thai, Malay, Indonesian, Sinhalese, Korean, Swahili, Hausa, and Tagalog.