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China Daily Global / 2021-02 / 24 / Page016

Online symposium lauds youthful approach

By XING WEN | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-02-24 00:00

An international dialogue was conducted for youth representatives to discuss the prospect of entrepreneurship, climate change, international trade and other topics with experts including Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General, and Irina Bokova, former director-general of UNESCO, on Feb 3.

Ban noted during the online event that the past few years have witnessed growing uncertainty with regard to the international order. Expanding protectionism has destabilized international trade and value chains; unilateralism and populism have negatively affected global unity and cooperation; and the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed people's daily lives.

"At this moment, rebooting the dialogue between the East and the West, especially among young people, is more important than ever," he said. "Multilateralism is the only way out and diversity in civilizations should be respected."

During the dialogue, Ban also expressed his desire for a stable, rational, constructive US-China relationship based on mutual understanding, which, in his view, would help bring the world back to normalcy and help humanity better prepare for future contingencies.

The event was held jointly by the China Foreign Languages Publishing Administration and the Chinese branch of Dewey Center, aiming to become the social, educational and global partnership gateway between young elites and leading educational institutions with a focus on STEAM(science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) plus sports, and future education through a global partnership for young leaders.

Additionally, the Vienna-based Ban Ki-moon Center for Global Citizens, as a partner of the Dewey Center, will set a liaison office at the latter's base in Beijing, to better carry out its mission of working for peace, poverty eradication, empowerment of youth and women, justice and human rights worldwide.

He added that both centers will work for various young leaders' programs with the academic support of the world's leading universities, in order to foster a new generation of international pioneers that fully utilize new 5G technology and embrace a global vision and ability, with a sense of global responsibility, partnership and consensus.

Du Zhanyuan, director of the China Foreign Languages Publishing Administration, said young people have long been playing an essential role in pushing forward cultural innovation and multilateral cooperation.

Du said 32 percent of the world's entire population are Generation Z-born between 1996 and 2010. The generation growing up in the digital age is open-minded, creative and capable of using advanced technologies to conduct exchanges across a diverse cultural spectrum.

"Last year, young people took the responsibility to address the challenges brought by the pandemic," he said, adding that among the 42,000 medical workers who fought at the front line against the pandemic in Hubei province, about 12,000 were born after 1990.

"I was moved by the scenes of young people shouldering their responsibilities and performing their duties in the hospitals, communities, factories and transportation industry to control the spread of the virus," he said.

Du encouraged young people to actively facilitate mutual understanding between countries and make joint efforts to address global challenges. He said the administration will set up larger platforms for young people to communicate with each other, to be empowered and to put their best foot forward.

Bokova pointed out that the key for the younger generation to build a better world lies in embracing sustainability, cultural diversity, innovation and creativity.

"They should seek a greater knowledge of other people through education and show respect for human dignity and the culture of others," she said.

Students from Tsinghua University, University of Southern California and other universities also joined the dialogue to put forth questions on issues they care about to the aforementioned attendees.


An online dialogue was held for youth representatives to discuss topics such as climate change and international trade with experts including Ban Ki-moon (top row, second from right), former UN Secretary-General, and Chen Shi (left), deputy director of the China Foreign Languages Publishing Administration, on Feb 3. CHINA DAILY



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