Global Young Leaders Promote Cross-Cultural Communication
“Receiving the letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping is a tremendous honor for global youth leaders, and it reflects the value that he places on international exchange, cooperation, and friendship,” said Erik Nilsson, an American journalist from China Daily, at a symposium held at China International Publishing Group (CIPG) on August 11. Just one day before, President Xi responded to foreign representatives of the Global Young Leaders Dialogue (GYLD), commending them for visiting various provinces in China and making efforts to deepen their understanding of the country.
Young Intercultural Ambassadors
“The goal of GYLD is to develop a community for promoting positive cross-cultural dialogue and communication among young global opinion leaders from diverse regions, sectors, disciplines, cultures, and professions,” Miao Lü, founder of GYLD and secretary-general of the Center for China and Globalization (CCG), told China Today. The program was jointly initiated by two Chinese think tanks, Center for China and Globalization and the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies (ACCWS).
Between the months of April and June, GYLD organized six trips for more than 100 international young people from over 50 countries to visit different provinces around China including Guizhou, Guangdong, Sichuan, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, and Hebei. The activities were organized around different topics including poverty alleviation, ecological protection, openness and innovation, and dialogues between different civilizations. “We hope to encourage exchanges of ideas among young people from different nations and invite more young international talents to become intercultural ambassadors between China and the rest of the world,” said Miao.
As a reporter, Nilsson has spent the past 15 years traveling to every provincial regions on the Chinese mainland, and visited hundreds of cities, towns, and villages. According to him, these trips are extremely valuable and serve as mere starting points for even greater things to come in the future.
Jonathan Lopez, content strategy manager of TikTok’s Latin American edition, appreciated the opportunities provided by the GYLD program which not only created a community for young global leaders in China, but also gave them an opportunity to explore in depth different cities in China.
“In Guangdong, we visited a museum and saw how the Chinese government transformed Shenzhen from a tiny fishing village into one of the most important entrepreneurial cities in the world,” said Lopez. He marveled at the achievements of China’s reform and opening-up over the past 40-plus years and the incredibly rapid development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
In Hebei’s Xibaipo, one of the important bases of China’s revolution which once served as the seat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Lopez learned more about the history of the CPC and how the great ideals of the CPC leaders had been turned into reality. “When you understand how these ideas and visions came into their minds 100 years ago, and how they have become a reality 100 years later, you will better understand modern China and feel deep respect towards China’s ruling party – the CPC and the Chinese people for their firm conviction and unremitting struggle,” Lopez said.
In fact, China’s technological innovation is the main reason for him to stay. “China is at the forefront of the world in terms of technological innovation,” he said, adding that the policies encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in China attract him the most. He has made plans for his future: in the short term, he hopes to improve his Chinese language ability; beyond that, he plans to achieve self-employment; and for a longer-term goal, he intends to become a bridge of communication between Latin American countries and China.
“I hope more talents can come to China, see China, and understand China, so they can become young ambassadors and tell the real story of China to the world,” said Lopez.
Dialogue, Diversity, and Civil Diplomacy
“Dialogue, diversity, and civil diplomacy are the three main features that distinguish the GYLD program from other youth leadership mechanisms,” said Miao.
She further introduced how people-to-people exchanges can enhance the sense of participation and are instrumental in active thinking, mutual learning, and building emotional bonds. “Through the well-designed activities, the big picture of China’s development has become individual stories that are more meaningful and intriguing,” Miao explained.
Diversity is another characteristic of the program. In addition to planning tours around China, the GYLD program has also organized a series of activities that include annual forums, on-the-spot investigation, short-term training, salons, and joint research. In the selection of international young leaders for the program, the organizers paid great attention to the balance of diversity in their genders, nationalities, and working fields. “Diversity helps to create an opportunity for high-quality and cross-cultural exchanges that bears mutual benefits,” Miao said.
“Every country has its own history, culture, and value, and we need to learn from each other, seek common ground, and achieve mutual benefits through collaboration,” said Zoon Ahmed Khan, a Pakistani researcher of the Belt and Road Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University.
“China has sent a positive signal to the world that China will continue to open up to the outside world. And building a better world and a community with a shared future for all humankind now calls the responsibility of global youth more than ever,” Miao said with confidence.
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