The 2019 UASR Presidents’ Forum was held in the Innovation Harbor Campus of Xi’an Jiaotong University on September 18th. Representatives of 57 member universities of the University Alliance of the Silk Road (UASR) from 19 countries and regions attended the meeting. The International Knowledge Centre for Engineering Sciences and Technology (IKCEST) and UASR jointly organized the Sub-forum on Higher Education Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.
Themed on “Action, Development, and Future”, more than 20 university presidents and experts from China, United States, United Kingdom, Italy, France, South Korea etc. exchanged ideas in the Sub-forum, and discussed the future of higher education in the world. Wang Huiyao, President of the Center for China & Globalization (CCG), Zheng Qinghua, Vice President of Xi’an Jiaotong University, Sergio Pignari, representative of President of Politecnico di Milano, Dinah CBE BIRCH, Pro-Vice-Chancellors of the University of Liverpool, Olga YAROSHENKO, Vice President of South Ural State University were invited to make keynote speeches on the forum.
In his keynote speech, President Wang Huiyao from the Center for China & Globalization (CCG) said that China and Belt-road countries have achieved remarkable development achievements under the Belt and Road Initiative, which is a model of multilateral cooperation and benefit in the process of globalization. He hoped that experts from various countries share their wisdom and experience and work together to deal with some of the world’s development challenges to strengthen international infrastructure construction cooperation so as to enable the entire world to achieve talent and cultural exchanges and achieve better development under multilateral and bilateral mechanisms.
In his keynote speech, Vice President Zheng Qinghua from Xi’an Jiaotong University introduced the work and achievements of the IKCEST Silk Road Training Base in the areas of the Belt and Road talent training, construction of the platform of online education, resource construction of engineering science and technology, and developmental training of engineering science and technology talents. He said that in the past three years, with the support of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and based on the high-quality teaching resources of XJTU, IKCEST Silk Road Training Base has adopted the teaching mode of “face-to-face teaching & practical training” through a combination of on-line and off-line training. It has trained 4896 scientific and technological personnel from 113 Belt-road universities, and has explored an “education-based” development path in implementing the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals.
Sergio Pignari, representative of presidents of Politecnico di Milano, said that UASR would be very beneficial to social development because the alliance is based on openness and inclusiveness for all Asian, European and African countries at the university level. As the largest and most famous science and engineering university in Italy, Politecnico di Milano is committed to advancing innovation into different fields of science and technology, and aims to help the society advance.
Dinah CBE BIRCH, Pro-Vice-Chancellors of the University of Liverpool said that higher education cooperation is faced with many opportunities and challenges in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative. He said that some challenges are academic challenges as many college teachers are obsessed with their own academic fields nowadays, while other challenges are cultural because barriers caused by traditions and customs will limit people’s willingness to cooperate in different fields. But he believed that the Belt and Road Initiative will help eliminate these barriers.
Olga YAROSHENKO, Vice President of South Ural State University, said that for any university, students matter the most. He hoped that the students have an open mind about opportunities in various fields and embrace all innovations and challenges. He also said that the most important thing for students is to have a desire for knowledge that will help them make lots of achievements in their future life.
This forum and its series of activities are also an important part of the activities of the Eurasian Economic Forum Education Branch. It aims to promote the Belt and Road Initiative in the field of education, and give full play to the UASR platform, and hold high the banner of international cooperation in higher education under the Belt and Road Initiative. During the forum, a series of activities of alliance were launched simultaneously.
Since November 2015, Xi’an Jiaotong University has undertaken the construction task of the Silk Road sub-center of IKCEST. As the Project Office of Silk Road sub-center, the Network Information Center of XJTU undertakes the task of platform development, scientific and technological personnel training, data resource construction and other tasks, and has cooperated with a number of departments including the School of Continuing Education, school library, the Faculty of Electronic and Information Engineering, and School of Foreign Studies to explore a development path for the Belt and Road talent training. Up till recently, 58 Silk Road Engineering Science and Technology Development training programs have been held, benefitting 4896 foreign students studying in China, exchange students and engineering and technical personnel from 113 countries and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions, as well as technological and scientific personnel in export-oriented enterprises in China. It provides a solid guarantee for the training of high-end think tank talents and practical and professional technical personnel who are from Belt-road countries and are friendly to China.