More global youth bonds for better understanding
2024-06-24 | Science and Technology Daily

The 2024 Future Close-Up, a global youth exchange program, concluded in Beijing on June 20. (PHOTO: China international Communications Group)

With young people representing the future of the world, the 2024 Future Close-Up, a youth exchange program, brought entrepreneurs, technologists, scholars and opinion leaders from 21 countries and regions together to promote exchanges between China and other countries and help young people around the world better understand China.

The event, hosted by the China International Communications Group (CICG) Center for the Americas, the Hong Kong Federation of Liaoning Associations, and the Marketing and Public Relations Department of Tencent, concluded in Beijing on June 20.

Critical role of young people

Gao Anming, editor-in-chief of ClCG, encouraged mutual learning and exchange, emphasizing the role of youth in contributing to the progress of human civilization.

Gao said China today showcases a harmonious blend of traditional culture and modern trends, where historical heritage complements technological innovation. He urged the young participants to visit China more often, introduce diverse civilizations to Chinese, and share the essence of the Chinese civilization with people everywhere.

Chen Juhong, vice president of Tencent, said technology is a catalyst for innovation, while innovation acts as the adhesive for cultural integration. Through the integration of culture and innovation, Tencent aims to become a partner of and a bridge for more young people, collaborators and research teams.

Siddharth Chatterjee, UN resident coordinator in China, explained how China's investments in human capital, infrastructure and commerce have created the bedrock of the country's rise. By investing in human capital, it was able to reap the benefits of a demographic dividend. Realizing this dividend requires young people to be educated, skilled, employed and actively engaged in society.

"The role of young people becomes critically important as they are the key force driving society forward. The heavy responsibility for future social development will fall on the young people you represent," he added.

Seeing China's development first-hand

During the weeklong program, 27 young representatives from places as diverse as the U.S., Russia, Germany and Japan visited Beijing, Shenyang in the northeastern province of Liaoning, and the Xiong'an New Area near Beijing.

Ricardo Manuel Barbosa Moreira, head of sourcing and corporate affairs at the OBI Group, a German multinational, said, "We got to see a little bit of the beauty of the convenience of services in China, the technology that can get anything delivered anywhere. At the same time, you also feel a little bit of the lives of the people here."

Moreno Pisto, editor-in-chief of MOW magazine, called China an example of innovation, progress and fashion. "Today, it was … the beautiful infrastructure," Pisto said. "You can notice how much the government has worked on the development of the area."

For Richard Lorenzo Gray, president and founder of the Open Foreign Policy Initiative and an Indo-Pacific Hub Intern at USAID, it was his first visit to China. "[China] is trying to find a meaningful way to get the benefits of technology, key developments in areas like social media, computing and artificial intelligence," he said.

Shared mission, shared responsibility

Erik Solheim, co-chair of the Europe Asia Center and former under-secretary-general of the United Nations, told the youth representatives in his address that Beijing and Shenyang, as well as the Xiong'an New Area are excellent examples of urban development in China.

"Seeing is believing," he told them. "China is now one of the most modernized countries in the world. I hope everyone can return to their hometowns with these wonderful memories."

Li Yafang, president of the CICG Center for the Americas, highlighted the objective of the program, saying, "Young people represent the future and hope of the world. We also hope that the young people can seek common ground while respecting differences, appreciate each other's strengths and jointly uphold the beauty of each civilization and the cultural diversity in the world."

Liu Qing, vice president of the China Institute of International Studies, underscored the role of young people in addressing today's global challenges, saying, "Today, the world is witnessing unprecedented change. Peace and development for humanity are facing emerging and alarming challenges. Overcoming these challenges and achieving common growth are part of a shared mission, one that calls for greater responsibility and commitment among the world's younger generations."

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