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New Year's Message

New Year's Message

Professor Richard Li-Hua

President of ELITE Innovation College Cambridge 2024


Agora ELITE O2O Education Innovation Model


Dragon leaps a thousand miles, embracing innovation


2024 New Year, new change, new pattern, new level and new journey


The year of the dragon is coming while we embrace 2024. The year of the dragon is very important for ELITE Innovation College Cambridge (EICC). Although we have an 18-year history, just like that Stanford University in the United States was born during the earthquake, Henley Business School in the United Kingdom was born during the Second World War, and EICC was re-created during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the hard work and efforts of our founding team, it has survived tenaciously and has gained continuous attention and encouragement from more and more insightful professionals, global leaders, educators, and strategic investors with great visions.


The dragon is a mighty, ambitious, strong, and energetic mythical creature, sheltering those warriors who want to drive innovation, lead innovation, and change the world. The dragon, the patron saint, not only enjoys the hustle and bustle, but is also stable, harmonious, and creative. The dragon represents a spirit of innovation. Innovation is the deepest national endowment of the Chinese nation. In the five thousand years of Chinese history, Chinese civilization has always been accompanied by an innovative spirit in the face of challenges and counterchallenges, which has been prolonged, unceasing, and everlasting, and has had a positive impact on the development of world civilization. EICC will also embrace innovation and make progressive change in the Year of the Dragon.


Thanks to our co-founders, founding members, strategic advisors, global partners, collaborators, innovators and strategic investors, colleagues and friends for their innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, faith, diligence, persistence, perseverance, resilience, commitment, participation, and contribution, online and offline, day after day, in global meetings and team discussions, we have overcome numerous obstacles and difficulties. Great progress and outstanding achievements have been made in the last three years, exceeding expectations.


According to the strategic plan made by the strategic leadership team, our project is divided into two stages - the first stage is that we gradually build and improve Agora ELITE O2O Education Innovation model, Co-Branded with preferred international well-known university partners, and gradually set up ELITE Global Colleges (EGCs) via our well-crafted House of Brand Strategy to achieve the function of self-creation of blood. The programmes we share with our strategic co-branded partner with degree awarding power are called ELITE Global Programmes and ELITE Global Degrees.


In the past three years, we have worked with global academic partners to actively promote the establishment of ELITE Global Programmes, step by step, with high-speed and stable development. In the New Year, we will apply for a university title and degree awarding power – enabling a college to become a university, and we are committed to creating a digital innovation university in Cambridge, in the heart of innovation in the world, providing holistic education and affordable education by reframing the Oxbridge model.


A revolution in the global higher education


When MOOC was launched in 2008, only 25 students took classes on the University of Manitoba campus, while 2,300 students from around the world took classes online. Very few would foresee that 12 years after its inception, there are more than a billion students around the world taking courses online. Today, more emerging online innovative universities are beginning to penetrate in the global higher education system, challenging the 800-year-old traditional university model. When Professor Clayton Christensen published his book The Innovative University in 2010, his main message was that 50% of private universities would go bankrupt if they did not understand emerging digital technologies and innovations. He could not imagine that his concept of an "innovative university" would have to consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


However, it is interesting that I did not expect that my keynote speech on "ELITE O2O Initiative in Creating Innovation and Entrepreneurship University in the Global Higher Education” delivered at the Ministry of Education Conference in 2016 Wenzhou, China was full of unexpected foresight and far-reaching significance. Based on the attributes of knowledge and the effectiveness of transmission, I created the "ELITE O2O Education Innovation Concept" - explicit knowledge can be transmitted and spread online, while tacit knowledge must be transmitted face-to-face. Then, I delivered a keynote speech at the "China Association of Higher Education CAHE 2020 Annual Conference [University Presidents' Forum] in Zhengzhou University with the theme of "The Perspective on the Creation of ELITE O2O Innovative University: A Revolution in Global Higher Education in the post-pandemic Era", which was the signal of the official launch of ELITE Innovation College Cambridge.


What is Agora ELITE O2O Education Innovation Model?


Christensen has long been remembered as the founder of the “Disruptive Innovation Theory”. It describes the way new entrants to the market disrupt existing businesses. If disruptive innovation has winners, losers, and changers, then we must adapt. Since the birth of MOOCs, there has been a fundamental change in the way we access, transform, create, control, and disseminate knowledge. As knowledge continues to take precedence in society, the dominance of universities over knowledge is eroding. Traditional universities have long been traditional knowledge generators, validators, and managers, playing a key role in educating and developing the next generation of talent and skills. However, digital innovations are emerging so quickly that traditional universities are no longer in charge.


We are honored to have created Agora ELITE O2O Education Innovation Model and the accompanying Agora ELITE Business Model, which is forward-looking and persuasive in addressing the challenges and opportunities of the post-pandemic era. Model is a structuralist and reductionist term. For the global higher education, the first thing that comes to mind is the Oxbridge model. We are committed to provide holistic education and affordable education by reframing the Oxbridge model.


"Agora" is a Greek word meaning a public space used for meetings and gathering. The word "Agora" literally means "meeting place" or "place of assembly". In our innovative terminology, the "meeting place", the founding and teaching space of our college, is not only physical, but also virtual, that is, online and offline. "ELITE" is an acronym of E-Learning of Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship at the digital innovation university in the global higher education. ELITE is the character and philosophy of our college. In addition, we embrace the global philosophy of EAST MEETS WEST. EICC is committed to integrating Eastern and Western management concepts and thinking in its philosophy of education. "Agora" and "ELITE" have an organic logical relationship, "Agora" is where our university is, and "ELITE" is our education feature, and the two are mutually reinforcing, helping to provide philosophical answers to the challenges and opportunities of the global higher education in the post-pandemic era.


We welcome governments and the private sector to work with us to build an upgraded version, provide incentives and establish a venture capital mechanism, with a view to promoting Agora ELTE O2O Education Innovation Model of Everbright and leading the future development and sustainable development of the global higher education.


Cambridge Digital Innovation University


In 2023, with the pandemic slowing down, I visited China three times to meet old and new friends, to talk about friendship, research, innovation, the future of the global higher education and cooperation. It was my honor to visit Tsinghua University, Peking University, University of International Business and Economics, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Henan University, Sanya University, Zhengzhou Sias University, Xi'an Peihua University, and Guangzhou College of Technology and Business. I also had the honor to visit Outlook China, Macao Foundation, Sun Yat-sen Foundation, Nishan Sacred Park and so on. We had an in-depth exchange of views and thoughts on the great changes of the century, the changes of the world, the changes of the times and history, the challenges and opportunities faced by the global higher education, and the Cambridge Agora ELITE O2O Education Innovation Model.


On the 4th and 5th December 2023, I, as a distinguished speaker, was invited to attend Hainan International Forum on Higher Education Innovation and Development. At the conference, I shared with the distinguished guests and the presidents/vice chancellors of the universities Disruptive Innovation: Cambridge Agora ELITE O2O Education Innovation Model. The educational peers from around the world have given high praise and recognition to Cambridge Agora ELITE O2O Education Innovation Model created by us. No doubt, we have established more partners.


As mentioned earlier, with the maturity of our creation of Cambridge Agora ELITE O2O Education Innovation Model (Agora ELITE), we will apply for degree awarding powers in 2024, and will gradually become an ELITE digital innovation university Cambridge. In the past three years, we have created Agora ELITE model that has won praise and high recognition of education peers in the global higher education. We have signed agreements and in-depth cooperation with 32 universities and educational institutions around the world.


As digital technological innovation creates a world of near-zero marginal costs, and as a result, the university's traditional core business model is under threat, it must consider new solutions that have a significant impact on the quality and affordability of education and teaching through global engagement and globally interconnected networks. As mentioned earlier, MOOCs and other online course options have revolutionized not only the way study programs and courses are taught, but also the business model in which universities operate. The impact of technological innovation and business models goes far beyond MOOCs’ innovation, and new business models will take their places.


In the past three years of education practice, we and many education professionals around the world have deeply realized the reality, simplicity, repeatability, reducibility, structure, stability, and operability of Agora ELITE O2O Education Innovation Model. Our future digital innovation university is headquartered in Cambridge and is supported by our global network of ELITE Global Colleges (EGCs) to achieve our strategic positioning. Our students at ELITE Global Colleges (EGCs) first receive a local degree in their home country and then receive an ELITE Global Degree from ELITE Innovation College Cambridge through our Agora ELITE O2O Education Innovation Model. In other words, we enable a large number of students who are thirsty for knowledge to complete their studies in an effective and manageable period of time, obtain a double degree, improve their ability, and achieve self-development goals as soon as possible.


Since the outbreak of the pandemic, almost all universities and colleges have offered courses online based on the MOOCs experience. In fact, as universities and colleges are forced to do so, there are similarities in online delivery across the globe. As the pandemic slowed down and students gradually returned to campus, it seemed that the traditional mode of education was back. However, the creation of our Agora ELITEE O2O Education Innovation Model is not determined by the pandemic, but by the attributes of knowledge. The strategic intention of this educational model is to explore an innovative educational pedagogy that is more humane, practical, and affordable. It embeds the delivery and global vision of curriculum, knowledge, content, and educational philosophy into the teaching strategy of O2O technology innovation system. This technological innovation system, including artificial intelligence (AI) and ChatGPT, demonstrates how the various features and objectives of the digital innovation university can be created, transformed, expressed, and achieved in a learning organizational environment.


Looking back at 2023


Looking back at the past year, we have made major breakthroughs and great achievements in all our work. We have shared the vision with our partners, resonated with our ideas, and co-branded with our selected degree-granting partners from world-renowned universities. These comprehensive and deep strategic cooperations promote us to achieve the function of self-generation of income. We are proud to cooperate with the following famous educational institutions from school cooperation, and strategic cooperation to co-branded cooperation:


1. Trinity Western University (TWU)


2. Florida Christian University (FCU)


3. International University of Applied Sciences (IU)


4. University of the West of Scotland (UWS)


5. Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU)


Together with our degree awarding partners, we are now able to offer ELITE global degrees and non-degree programmes of EICC, including undergraduate, postgraduate, teaching and research innovation programmes based in Cambridge, and supported by the ELITE Global Colleges (EGCs), including EGC Tunisia, EGC Singapore, EGC Korea, EGC Japan, EGC Thailand.


At the same time, we are proud that we have already developed and perfected our own advanced executive development programmes (EDPs) and short-term bespoke customized programmes, as follows:


  • ELITE Global Talent Program (EGTP)

  • Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) 

  • Global Leadership for Women (GLW) 

  • Transformational Leadership Embraces Innovation (TLEI) 

  • Excellence in Leadership and Management in Global Higher Education (ELM)

  • Chief Digital Economic Officer (CDEO) 

  • Chief Digital Trade Officer (CDTO) 

  • Chief Digital Education Officer (CDEO) 

  • Chief Digital Health Officer (CDHO) 


EICC - TWU Co-Branded Certificate of Completion


We would like to announce that in the New Year, we are co-branding and cooperating with Trinity Western University, Canada and Florida Christian University, United States. We will use Agora ELITE O2O Education Innovation Model in Cambridge, with the great support of ELITE Global Colleges (EGCs) around the world, to provide jointly developed and initiated co-branded degree and non-degree programmes. We have the following arrangements for planning and formal enrollment:


· Undergraduate level

Global Innovation Leadership (GIL) (15 credits)

· Postgraduate level

Advanced Innovation Leadership (AIL)


EICC - FCU Co-branded Cambridge PhD Programmes


· PhD in Business Administration


· PhD in Education Management


In the meantime, we have established cooperation with 32 universities and colleges from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Portugal, China, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia, Libya, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Korea, Japan and other countries to establish our ELITE Global Colleges (EGCs). It also established the strategically important "Global Innovative University Alliance", which is a joint effort to build, win, and share resources.


Looking ahead to 2024


Looking ahead, the New Year will bring both opportunities and challenges. However, with the solid foundation we have established, we have now moved to a new stage. Innovative and entrepreneurial attributes and spirit are in the blood and DNA of the College's ELITE global team members. In the New Year, we will have further consolidation and enhancement of our academic and administrative team. Our team has a hard-working, tenacious character, we are building a learning organization that is rich in innovation and entrepreneurship. We will meet all challenges and overcome obstacles and difficulties to make Agora ELITE O2O Education Innovation Model sustainable and make its business model prevalent.


First, we will streamline the recruitment, application and admission materials and procedures for the international programmes and courses at EICC through our global partners, the ELITE Global Colleges (academic partners and recruitment agency partners and strategic advisors). At the same time, we will initiate connected education arrangements and double degree arrangements with our academic partners around the world. In addition, we will prioritize our own non-degree programmes, including the ELITE Global Talent Program (EGTP) and the Executive Development Programmes (EDPs), as well as the ELITE Cambridge Summer/Winter Camp Programme.


We take all necessary measures and activities, such as the College's monthly Global Higher Education Innovation Forum and the College's monthly Global Engagement and Recruitment Forum, to increase the number of our ELITE Global Colleges (EGCs) and to meet and exceed our enrollment targets in order to achieve our financial sustainability.


Secondly, we will publish EICC Special Issue, Outlook China. We will continue to hold the annual Global University Presidents Forum (GUPF) and China Innovation Summit Forum (CISF), to increase our international visibility, build our global reputation, and strong marketing position and achieve multiple revenue streams and financial sustainability. We will also allow our EICC Fellows and students to participate in these activities to enhance the student journey and experience.


Third, we will consolidate and realign our well-equipped offices and teaching premises at our college headquarters at St John's Innovation Centre in Cambridge and consolidate our relationship with the University of Cambridge. We will register with the OfS and subsequently apply for the university title and degree-awarding-powers.


Finally, we will consolidate, strengthen, and enhance our global academic and administrative teams to enhance the school's academic strength, innovation, and execution.


Stanford University was founded in 1885 and rebuilt after the devastating earthquake in 1906, becoming the world-famous Stanford University as it is today. Henley Business School was founded in Henley-on-Thames in 1945 during the Second World War and has become a globally renowned educational institution. EICC was re-created during the 2020 pandemic. EICC is known as "a little peach tree born in Tsinghua in 2006, grown up and settled in Cambridge in 2014". It will turn 18 years old in 2024. 10th anniversary of settlement in Cambridge. 10 years of sharpening a sword is a great achievement for the present generation and a great benefit for the future.


Thank you all. It's good to have you in my life.


Happy New Year to all my friends!

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