China Foreign Affairs University was founded in 1955, and is affiliated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the university is not to be confused with the University of International Relations, also in Beijing). The predecessor of CFAU was the Department of Diplomacy of Renmin University of China. Vice Premier and Foreign Minister of China Chen Yi was the president of the university from 1961 to 1969. The University was forced to close during the years of Cultural Revolution. It was reopened in 1980 under the auspices of Deng Xiaoping. The former president is Ambassador Wu Jianmin. The current president is Zhao Jinjun (赵进军). Before 2005, the university was called the Foreign Affairs College.
The Foreign Affairs University also holds short-term courses for Chinese civil servants and for foreign diplomats. For example, in 2005, it has trained diplomats of the new governments created after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq for one month each.