Nankai University has developed broad international communications by establishing exchanges and collaborative relationships with more than 300 international universities and academic institutions. In the last years, Nankai University established nine Confucius Institutes overseas, including the one at the University of Maryland in the US. Since 2012, Nankai has won the award Outstanding Confucius Institute Chinese Partner of the Year three times. Nankai undertakes the task of offering Chinese language training to the students from foreign countries and has launched several high-level study abroad programs, including the Oxford Program. The University participates in the Davos World University Leaders Forum. It was also selected by Hanban as one of the first universities to participate in the Confucius China Studies Program. Nankai University collaborates with Glasgow University: the two universities jointly established the NKU-UoG Joint Graduate School.
Nankai University has awarded nine international celebrities the title of Honorary Doctor, including the mathematician Shiing-shen Chern, the physician Ta-you Wu, the economist Karl Gunnar Myrdal, the former Chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation Jiang Bingkun, and the Chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab. The Nobel Laureates Chen Ning Yang, Tsung-Dao Lee, Samuel Chao Chung Ting, Robert A. Mundell and Reinhard Selton, the former President of Korea Kim Dae Jung, the former American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the former Prime Minister of Italy Romano Prodi, the former French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development and former Prime Minister Laurent Fabius, Chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab, and the famous writer Jin Yong are Honorary Professors of Nankai University. Many other world-renowned scholars and entrepreneurs have been invited to Nankai as Visiting Professors.