Former Olympic 1500m champion Lord Sebastian Coe has visited Cardiff Met’s Beijing office in his first official engagement since being appointed as new president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Lord Coe, an Honorary Fellow of the university, is currently in Beijing for the IAAF World Championships, which coincide with the Presidency election. The former Chairman of the London 2012 Olympic Games beat former Olympic pole vault champion Sergey Bubka by 115 votes to 92 in the race to head the body that governs world athletics.
Lord Coe and his wife Carole Annett, were hosted at the University’s Beijing office by alumnus Lynn Davies, President of UK Athletics and Olympic gold medal winner, who is also a Cardiff Met Honorary Fellow and, more recently, was named Doctor of Sport by the University. He has also been awarded both a CBE and MBE.
Speaking to Chinese media, Lord Coe said: “This is my first visit and I am absolutely delighted [to be here.] It’s actually the first official function I’ve had since becoming President of the IAAF, so I think it’s appropriate that it’s at a university that I received an Honorary Fellowship from and it’s appropriate that it’s with a great friend of mine, who was my Team Manager at two Olympic Games, and somebody who was educated at this University and taught at the University. I could not have started my official duties in a better place.”
Lord Coe was appointed an MBE in 1982, an OBE in 1990 and accepted a life peerage in 2000. An IAAF vice-president since 2007, he becomes only the sixth president in the organisation's 103-year history and will begin work following the impending world championships in Beijing.
He continued: “Cardiff Metropolitan University is one of the finest universities in my country – Great Britain. All good universities want to develop relationships overseas, particularly in countries and continents that are going to be very important to the future of the world. I am delighted that Cardiff Metropolitan University has opened these offices relatively recently in Beijing and I know [the University] has plans for expanding [its] involvement in other provinces and cities in China and [the University] has made great progress in a few years. Making sure that British universities that have a reputation for excellence everywhere in the world, that they are playing their part in a global world, is really important.”
The University’s office in Beijing, near Tiananmen Square, opened last June, with the aim of developing strategic partnerships with Chinese institutions.
Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), Professor Mohamed Loutfi, said: “We were delighted to welcome Lord Coe, as well as Lynn Davies and our many other esteemed guests to our China office and to demonstrate to them how Cardiff Met and the City of Cardiff play an important role in the development of the international education.”
For more than 20 years, Cardiff Metropolitan University has been welcoming students from China onto a range of programmes and the office in Beijing facilitates student recruitment into Cardiff Met from the growing Chinese market, as well as accommodating two of the University’s strategic partners – the Cardiff and Vale College and the Cardiff Business Council.
Cardiff Met also works very closely with a number of Chinese institutions, collaborating on various projects, including joint programmes, joint research, and student and staff exchanges. Having an office in Beijing enables the University to fully support its partner network in China and react quickly to opportunities as they arise.
Vice Chancellor, Professor Antony Chapman, said: “Exceptional figures such as Lord Coe are proud of their association with the University and have much to offer us in terms of their expertise, particularly with his latest appointment as President of the IAAF.
“We would like to extend our congratulations to him and look forward to following with interest the impact he will have in his new role.”
Listen to Lord Coe talking to the Chinese media at Cardiff Met's China office: