On April 18th, the Opening Ceremony of the 1st China-UK Higher Education Young Talent Alliance Summit was held at Tsinghua University. Chen Xu, Chairperson of the Tsinghua University Council and Chair of the China-UK Association for the Humanities in Higher Education, Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter, Mr. Danny Whitehead, Minister Counsellor for Education and Culture of the British Embassy in China, and Deputy Director China of the British Council, and student representatives from China and the UK attended the opening ceremony held at the Tsinghua University Art Museum. The opening ceremony was moderated by Professor Yan Haiping, Dean of the Institute for World Literatures and Cultures, Chair of the Executive Council of the China-UK Association for the Humanities in Higher Education, and Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.
The theme of the summit was “Exploring Beauty in the Humanities and Innovation, Bridging the Communication between China and the UK”. A total of 34 outstanding young students from renowned universities in China and the UK, including Tsinghua University, Peking University, Fudan University, Cambridge University, University of Oxford and University College London attended the summit.
Chen Xu welcomed the guests and students from the two countries on behalf of the China-UK Association for the Humanities in Higher Education and Tsinghua University. She stated that the summit was launched to meet the developing times and the needs of young people to develop, as well as to promote exchanges in the humanities between China and the UK. It also aimed to promote the development of the China-UK Association for the Humanities in Higher Education.
Chen Xu hoped that the student representatives of the two countries would understand Chinese culture and Tsinghua University better, and make more friends through the activities carried out during the summit. She stated that from now onwards, the China-UK Association for the Humanities in Higher Education would actively promote in-depth communication among young people from China and the UK, and construct a firmer and broader platform for people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. She believed that under the joint efforts of all the members of the China-UK Association for the Humanities in Higher Education, as well as great support from all sectors of both countries, communication between the youth of the two countries would achieve new heights, and exchanges in the humanities between the two countries would result in new and greater achievements.
Professor Sir Steve Smith stated in his speech that co-operation between universities was required in cultivating the best students, promoting scientific and research development, and striving to address the challenges faced globally. The China-UK Association for the Humanities in Higher Education was dedicated to promoting communication between scholars from China and the UK, and has benefited the scholars from the two countries and promoted cooperation and integration in the humanities between the two countries. He stated that promoting cross-cultural communication has never been as so important as it is today. This time, the Association had gathered the best students from the two countries, and they would play a significant role in understanding the cultures of the two countries, as well as promoting cooperation between them.
Mr. Danny Whitehead stated in his speech that the challenges jointly faced by mankind today require global cooperation and global solutions. Cooperation between youth and between academic institutions has to be strengthened to promote the innovation of knowledge in order to solve these problems. Communication between the youth is an important path to building mutual trust and mutual understanding. Tsinghua University and the British Council have high expectations for this event, and the UK is willing to further promote its cooperation with China. The summit had gathered young students from the renowned universities in China and the UK as an attempt to promote such cooperation. Discussions by participants on the topic during the next few days were highly anticipated. The communication between the youth of the two countries would definitely promote the development of the two countries.
Yan Haiping said, as an important part of the China-UK Association for the Humanities in Higher Education, the student forum will serve as a prominent platform for young people to develop their cross-cultural thinking and carry out their international dialogue. On one hand, it will help to deepen the cultural exchange between UK students and Chinese students, cultivating their experience, cognition, vision, and conceptualization of the vital importance of the humanities in contemporary world, enabling each of them to better “interpret the world” so as to “narrate about her/his own life and country”, and to better contribute to building a community of shared future for mankind. And it serves to continue and amplify the Tsinghua spirit of “ever-renewing humanities”, and contribute to building a “more internationalized, more humanistic, and more innovative” Tsinghua University. This is also the mission and goal of the Institute for World Literatures and Cultures and the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.
Wu Shaowen, representative of the Chinese organizing committee and the President of the Tsinghua University Association of Student International Communication, stated that the mutual learning of Chinese and English cultures should be jointly participated in by the youth of the two countries. Young people should shoulder the responsibility of the cultural heritage and development of the two countries, voice their thoughts and contribute their strengths on the world stage in the new era.
Darrion Mohan, British student representative, stated in his speech that he was grateful to visit and attend the summit at Tsinghua University during its upcoming 108th anniversary. He believed that the summit would definitely provide a platform for the construction of long-lasting friendship and the strengthening of mutual understanding between the youth of the two countries.
It was reported that apart from the summit, young student representatives of the two countries would also visit various places, including Tsinghua University campus, Tsinghua University Art Museum, the Palace Museum, and the 798 Art District. They would also have in-depth discussions with the Curator of the Tsinghua University Library and the director of the documentary "Masters In Forbidden City" on topics including cultural and creative industries, digital humanities and art education. This year’s Summit saw the great support of Yi Samuel Chen, Research Fellow and China Liaison of Center on Migration, Policy and Society at University of Oxford, who assisted in recommending UK student representatives and led the group at the Summit.
The China-UK Association for the Humanities in Higher Education was established in Shanghai in December 2016. Since its establishment three years ago, the Association has played an active role in cultural and academic exchanges, cross-cultural dialogues and the cultivation of high-level young talents with an integration of Chinese and Western cultures between China and the UK. The summit is another useful exploration and innovative practice under the mechanisms of exchange and communication of the China-UK Association for the Humanities in Higher Education.
The summit was hosted by Tsinghua University and the China-UK Association for the Humanities in Higher Education, organized by the Tsinghua University Association of Student International Communication, and co-organized by the Tsinghua University Institute for World Literatures and Cultures, the Committee of Tsinghua University of the Communist Youth League and Tsinghua University International Cooperation and Exchange Office.
Writer: Wilson Khor
Editors: Guo Lili, John Olbrich