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Xi'an Jiaotong University, a national key university under the direct jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, is one of the country's oldest institutions of higher learning. Founded in Shanghai in 1896 as Nanyang Public, it was renamed Jiaotong University in 1921. In 1956, at the direction of the State Council, the university was moved to Xi'an, and renamed Xi'an Jiaotong University (XJTU). As one of the country's national key universities, it was included in the first group of universities singled out for high priority development under the country's seventh and eighth five year plans. It was also included in the first group of universities to benefit from Project 211 and Project 985, with the goal of becoming a world class university. Under a plan adopted by the State Council in April, 2000, the original Xi'an Jiaotong University was merged with the Xi'an Medical University and the Shaanxi Institute of Finance and Economics to form the new Xi'an Jiaotong University.

Xi'an Jiaotong University has extensive ties to the world of international scholarship and research. Thirteen Nobel laureates, one Fields Prize winner and over 700 foreign professors have been invited to the campus to lecture. Over 10,000 scholars, CEOs, and high-level government officials from around the world have been involved in exchanges or other kinds of collaborative activity with Jiaoda. More than 1500 XJTU teachers and students have gone abroad to visit, study, do research, or participate in degree programs, and over 1300 faculty members, and researchers have traveled abroad for conferences. The university has conducted joint programs for both undergraduates and graduate students with nearly 20 outstanding universities in France, the US, Italy, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Belgium. The“4+4” undergraduate exchange programs conducted in cooperation with France's Groupe des Ecoles Centrales has been enthusiastically endorsed by both the French and Chinese Ministries of Education. XJTU, in cooperation with the University of Liverpool, has established XJTU-Liverpool University, which is the first university in China to be established as a joint undertaking between a Chinese university and a foreign university, and to receive the approval of the Ministry of Education, XJTU-Liverpool University focuses on engineering. The university has also been involved in the establishment of two Confucius Institutes. One, in the American state of Nebraska, is a joint undertaking of XJTU and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; the second was established in the UK in collaboration with the University of Liverpool. Since 2000, the university has built inter-university cooperative relationships with 145 universities and research institutions in 42 countries and regions, including the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and Korea. Over 900 foreign experts have come to work at the university. XJTU is the only university in China to be a member of “Top Industrial Managers Europe (T.I.M.E. Association).” It has participated in three exchange programs under the European Union's “Erasmus External Cooperation Window Plan,” more programs than any other university in China. In addition, there are currently 1020 foreign students from 51 countries studying at XJTU.

Department of International Cooperation and Exchange, and the Office of Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan Affairs are the administrative bodies responsible for collaboration and communication between the university and the world outside of the university.

The Department of International Cooperation and Exchange is made up of two offices, namely, the International Office and the Office for Passport and Visa Applications. The main responsibilities of the Department include: establishing and maintaining collaborative relationships between Xi’an Jiaotong University and a large number of foreign universities, as well as other kinds of educational and research institutions, hosting visiting scholars and educators, granting of honorary titles to distinguished visitors, managing international collaborative projects, organizing international conferences, lectures and seminars, handling the issues involved with long-term and short-term visits outside of the mainland and the employment of people outside from the mainland.

The Office of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Affairs is responsible for the academic cooperation and exchange invoving to those three regions. The Department of International Cooperation and Exchange and the Office of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Affairs share the same administrative structure.

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