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China's professor Li Shirong becomes CIOB’s first female president

In its 175th anniversary year, the Chartered Institute of Building has made a significant break with tradition with the appointment of its first female president.

Professor Li Shirong, from Chongqing in western China is also the CIOB’s first president from outside the UK and Ireland. The CIOB celebrates its 20th anniversary working in China this year.

A pioneer in construction management in her home country, Li Shirong’s work spans academia, industry and government and reflects her strong belief in the need for sustainable urbanisation. She is currently professor of construction management at Chongqing University, deputy director of Chongqing Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Commission, a member of various advisory groups to the Chongqing government and the author of 26 books published in China and abroad.

Li Shirong’s first degree is in civil engineering, she holds an MSc in construction management and a PhD in construction economics and management from the University of Reading in the UK.

“As well as being an illustrious industry figure in her own right, Li Shirong also stands for CIOB’s growing international status and our desire to further strengthen ties and exchange of information with China and the rest of the world. We’re delighted she is taking up the presidency and look forward to a fruitful, exciting year,” says Keith Pickavance, outgoing CIOB president.

A member of the CIOB since its early connections with China and regarded as a major factor in its growth there, Li Shirong is keen to use her term to ensure that international communications remain high on the agenda.   “As the world becomes smaller, it’s easier to share experience about how to make the best use of our resources. But the world is still challenging – we need communication and collaboration internationally, particularly during the current economic crisis,” she says.

Li Shirong is also aware of the implications of this appointment. “The post isn’t really about me, it’s about changes in China. This couldn’t have happened 30 years ago. Through the open door policy and reform, we changed to be able to compete in international society. It’s an historic achievement.”

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