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Universities to bridge Italy, China: Italian professor
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University exchanges are a strong starting point for building Sino-Italian ties, a college professor told Xinhua in an interview Monday.

Fabio Corno is the coordinator for the first winter school organized by the University of Milan-Bicocca. The school opened Monday by giving a warm welcome to 100 students from China's Chongqing University.

During the course of the program "Discovering the Old Continent," the Chinese students will stay in Milan for two weeks to participate in courses and lectures on a variety of subjects, and visit cities, museums and historic venues as well as local industrial districts and companies, Corno said.

Speaking of his personal experience, the professor said he has noticed how young people from such apparently different cultures, like the Chinese and the Italian students, can easily build long-lasting friendship.

Universities can significantly contribute to the establishment of solid and durable ties, he said, by playing an "encoder" role that fosters cross-cultural communication.

"Building relations based on mutual faith and esteem from the very beginning can only bring excellent results. In fact, students are the workers of the future," he said.

When Corno first went to Chongqing last year to launch the program, he was impressed by the great interest and enthusiasm expressed by local students.

"We had planned to host some 20 of them in Milan, but when we realized that such a big group was ready to leave for Italy, we were very pleasantly surprised," he recalled.

The same enthusiasm has also captured Italian students who visited China. One of them was awarded a scholarship by Chongqing University, as she has learnt fluent Chinese thanks to her passionate feeling about China, Corno said.

The ongoing Year of Chinese Culture in Italy is another valuable opportunity to get acquainted with China, and so is the upcoming Chinese Spring Festival that students of both nationalities will celebrate together at a party scheduled on Feb. 3, the closing day of the winter school.

"As to our Chinese friends, we would like them to bring back to their country true elements of the Italian culture, which is well-known around the world," Corno said.

"Most of all, I hope they develop their own points of view, so as to look at Italy not only as the country of fashion and design, but also of opportunities for financial investments and strategic partnerships," he added.

(Xinhua News Agency January 26, 2011)

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