Education and science

Confucius Institute at the University of Basel (CIUB)

The Confucius Institute at the University of Basel opened on 21 September 2013. The Institute arose from a partnership between the University of Basel and the East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai. The opening was preceded by two years of negotiations with the Confucius Institute Headquarter Hanban (an office of the Chinese Ministry of Education). 

It will be a centre for Chinese language and culture and will serve the interests and needs of people across the Greater Basel Area. The primary areas of service for the Confucius Institute at the University of Basel will be:

  • Platform for academic exchanges in cooperation with “Institute for European Global Studies”
  • Professional development and training for Chinese language teachers
  • Chinese language instruction in cooperation with local language institutions
  • Classes, workshops and exhibitions in Chinese culture and arts in cooperation with local cultural institutions
  • Management of the library about Chinese language and culture
  • Carrying out HSK tests and YCT tests

In addition to the classes and professional development workshops, the Confucius Institute will organise and host at least two major events per year such as conferences, lectures, film series, exhibits and performances by guest artists. These events will explore compelling issues in contemporary China, promote understanding of Chinese history and cultural traditions and highlight Basel’s connections to China.

On 14 May 2013, the vice-chancellor of the University of Basel, Antonio Loprieno, was able to successfully conclude two-year negotiations with China with his signature. With the East China Normal University (ECNU), the University of Basel now not only has an attractive partner for setting up a Confucius Institute in Basel but also direct contacts with one of China's best universities. An agreement with the Hanban Confucius Institute Headquarters served as the basis for the final talks with the East China Normal University in Shanghai.

On 1.4.2020, the Executive Board of the association "Confucius Institute at the University of Basel" (CIUB) decided at the General Assembly to dissolve the association in the third quarter of the current year.

Website Confucius Institute


Student exchange programme

Ten students and two teachers from Shanghai visiting Basel in August 2016

Gymnasium Leonhard at the High School Affiliated to Fudan University Shanghai

Gymnasium Leonhard has been offering Chinese as an elective subject since 1991. The course was initiated by history teacher Dr. Elsbeth Gutmann and her former student, and current professor of sociology, Raoul Findeisen. Since 1995, the three-year course has been available to students of all five state grammar schools in the canton.

In the context of the city partnership between Basel and Shanghai, a school twinning project between Gymnasium Leonhard and the High School Affiliated to Fudan University was launched in 2011. The project entails mutual visits and contacts between students who also exchange opinions on literary works: one Chinese work in Shanghai and one Swiss/German work in Basel. The exchange takes place in English since German is only offered as a one-year elective subject at the Shanghai school.

In the context of the third student exchange, pupils from Shanghai spent a week in Basel in August 2016. The return visit will take place in April 2017.

Apart from visiting the usual tourist attractions, the students, who live in host families and accompany their partners to school, et an insight into a different culture as well as a different school environment. Many of the students who visited China for the first time through the exchange programme return on their own initiative once they have finished school. While the student exchange removes barriers, the Chinese lessons (which, as an elective subject, are restricted to two lessons per week) aim to give students a foundation on which they can build in the future.

Further information


Manager Exchange

Two men at a meeting.
The "Manager Exchange Programme" is part of the push to actively maintain more vibrant and diverse relationships between the partner cities.

Since 2009/2010 the “Manager Exchange Programme”, an annual alternating exchange programme for junior managers, is designed to promote thriving and diverse links between the city partners of Basel and Shanghai. In May 2009 four junior managers from Shanghai first came to Basel on a vocational and cultural visit. In the year 2010 it was Basel’s turn: four young professionals were able to broaden their professional horizons in the Chinese metropolis. After the successful pilot project, since 2011 the programme has been continued in collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) and the Shanghai Economic Management College (SEMC).

Intensified exchange

Following a pilot phase, from 2011 the exchange of junior managers was intensified and broadened. Swiss managers who took part in the exchange were givenn the CAS Certificate of Advanced Studies “International Management China”. To recognise the special achievements of these students, the External Relations and City Marketing Department of the Canton of Basel-Stadt launched a competition in 2013 amongst the students of CAS International Management China. In collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, a prize will be awarded to the best dissertation which specifically and demonstrably facilitates Swiss-Chinese cooperation.

When there is sufficient demand, FHNW will arrange the next Basel-Shanghai exchange. The Basel and Shanghai managers are greatly inspired by their visit and appreciate the work experience they could gather as well as the supporting Business School and their experience of the cultural differences between Basel and Shanghai.
Is your company interested in taking part in the exchange with Shanghai? Further information about the exchange programme for managers is available from:

University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland
School of Business

Prof. Michael Jeive
+41 (0)62 957 23 08