On 8 November, President of UIC, Professor Ng Ching-Fai, gave a keynote talk at the first lecture of the Lecture Series on Chinese Culture and Society. This lecture was arranged by the Chinese Language and Culture Centre (CLC) and the topic of Prof Ng’s talk was the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).


Many students and staff come to listen to the talk

The lecture began with a video that explained the reasons for beginning the BRI. To respond to the call of China’s leader, Xi Jinping, to develop this initiative, UIC organized a trip to the Czech Republic to help students learn more about the effects of this initiative.

Prof Ng reiterated the purpose of the BRI, while also introducing some milestones that have already occurred. In addition, Prof Ng gave a brief introduction of the UIC summer programme to Prague, where students were able to gain a hands-on understanding of the BRI.


Prof Ng talks about the Belt and Road Initiative.

After Prof Ng’s speech, he was joined by the Dean of the Division of Business and Management, Prof Stella Cho-Lung Pui-Lan; Director of the Whole Person Education Office (WPEO), Dr Guo Haipeng; Associate Professor of International Journalism, Dr Edgar Yuen Kee-Wang; Associate Director of Four-Point Education Coordination Office (FPECO), Ms Jennifer Lin Meiyu; Associate Professor and Coordinator of Physical Education Centre, Dr Shi Lei; Associate Professor as well as Programme Director of Government and International Relations, Dr Edoardo Monaco and the Director of the Chinese Language and Culture Centre, Prof Wu Hongyu. They were all part of the guest speaker section of the lecture and they spoke about when they were mentors during the summer programme in Prague.

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Dr Monaco discussed how he was really impressed by how much colleagues and, most of all, students already knew about Europe and Prague, by their curiosity, dynamism, and ability to adapt and interpret the new environment. As an educator, Dr Monaco found it encouraging to see the students bridge cultural gaps rather than focus on supposed differences or barriers. This is further evidence which supports that UIC does indeed attract and produce very good ‘global citizens’.


Programme Director of Government and International Relations, Dr Edoardo Monaco

Dr Monaco explained that mutual knowledge and understanding are in fact fundamental, not just from a cultural point of view, but also from a socio-economic point of view. “In the end, it often all comes down to ‘people’: people in governments reaching transnational deals, people in businesses trying to enact them across borders, and people whose livelihoods and development are the very target of the BRI,” explained Dr Monaco.


Dean of the Division of Business and Management, Prof Stella Cho-Lung Pui-Lan


Associate Director of FPECO, Ms Jennifer Lin Meiyu

Another important aspect of the summer programme was the close cooperation with CEFC China, a private Chinese conglomerate, because it highlighted the crucial role of the private sector in enacting and implementing politico-economic strategies. In this sense, CEFC China represented a very encouraging example of successful policy implementation. Students were exposed to relevant ‘best practices’ and trends that may possibly become very typical, as more Chinese and foreign companies explore similar cooperation opportunities along the BRI.


Director of the Whole Person Education Office, Dr Guo Haipeng


Associate Professor, Dr Edgar Yuen Kee-Wang

Dr Monaco explained that the group learned from this early stage of the BRI that they have the opportunity in Prague to look at it not just as a grand scheme of investment and trade, but as an ambitious aspiration for development. To measure, realize and ultimately sustain that development design, a diverse, multidimensional, holistic approach is needed. A precondition for that is a diverse, multidimensional, holistic mindset, which is exactly what is promoted at UIC. Dr Monaco finished by saying “I truly believe that summer experiences like that in Prague, with similar ones to come, and general education at UIC, are meaningful and effective training grounds for that approach.”

Afterwards, Li Xushan, a Year Three student from Accounting, who had joined the trip, shared her experience and thoughts. Du Yuxin, a year one student from International Journalism, said that attending this event gave her a lot of inspiration and strengthened her understanding of the BRI.

Reporters: Li Dandan (Year One, IJ), Samuel Burgess
Photographers: Simon Liu Yong (CLC), Ivy Liao
Editors: Samantha Burns, Deen He
(from MPRO, with special thanks to the ELC)

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