President Xi encourages exchanges among young people
By Elsbeth van Paridon  ·  2021-08-13  ·   Source: NO.33 AUGUST 19, 2021
A Global Young Leaders Dialogue (GYLD) delegation visits an exhibition on the future of Xiongan New Area in Hebei Province on June 25 (COURTESY PHOTO)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on the world's younger generations to increase mutual understanding and friendship through participation in international exchange programs. President Xi made the call in response to a letter from 36 participants in the Global Young Leaders Dialogue (GYLD) program. 

The GYLD aims to develop future opinion leaders under the age of 45, coming from all geographic regions, academic backgrounds and occupations, by fostering international world views that value cooperation. It was jointly initiated by two Beijing-based think tanks—the Center for China and Globalization and the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies.

In their letter to President Xi, who is also General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the participants, representing 28 countries, extended their congratulations to the CPC on its centenary. Describing their trips around China as part of the program, they said the experience had deepened their understanding of China and expressed their hopes of serving as a bridge to promote the exchange and dialogue between China and the rest of the world.

GYLD members learn about local culture in a village in Zunyi, Guizhou Province, in April (COURTESY PHOTO)

Participants in the GYLD program found its activities gave valuable insights into Chinese society and economy, as well as the journey China has taken on its path to moderate prosperity. Jonathan Lopez, a Colombian managing TikTok's in Latin America strategy for ByteDance, expressed his appreciation for the wide variety of topics covered in the GYLD tours. Lopez participated in the tour of Guangdong Province in south China in May as well as the tour of Hebei Province in the north in June. He told Beijing Review he was deeply impressed by the tech industries and supporting infrastructure present both in south China and in Xiongan New Area, a state-level development hub established in Hebei in 2017. "The smart and sustainable advancements China is making both up north and down south are putting the nation at the forefront of digital innovation," Lopez explained.

International participants learn to perform Cantonese Opera in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, on May 28 (COURTESY PHOTO)

Brazilian Rafael Henrique Zerbetto, a journalist with China International Publishing Group, has a strong fascination with the 100-year-long history of the CPC. He joined the GYLD trip to Jiangxi Province, east China, the land where the country's "red culture" demonstrates its inimitable significance in modern Chinese history. "A token of the CPC's determination to serve the people of China and offer them a prosperous future," Zerbetto added.

As the world enters a period of accelerating change and growing uncertainty, understanding the value of open dialogues and the power of cooperation is becoming increasingly important. At the same time, as technology brings us more and more ways to communicate with one another, many of us seem and feel more disconnected than ever before.

Genuine understanding seems to increasingly be the exception rather than the rule in modern communication. We speak different conceptual languages, hold to different values, and embody different ways of seeing the world—all the while speaking at each other, or past each other rather than to each other. We fire salvos of information across the Internet, or shoot each other text messages or tweet about ourselves. The trouble with much of what passes for communication today is that it's all crosstalk. It's a din, not a dialogue.

The noisy chatter reflects the fact that we don't really know how to engage one another in authentic conversations. Some simply haven't learned the skills of listening closely to each other, of engaging in meaningful exchanges, and of finding shared sources of meaning.

In this context, we need to get smart about how to talk to one another. We need to be able to overcome differences, find common ground, build meaning and purpose, and set directions together. That's what dialogue is: a form of discussion aimed at fostering mutual insight and common purpose.

And that's what GYLD has given us: a dialogue, not just one through words, but one through actions.

The author is an editorial consultant with Beijing Review and a participant in the Global Young Leaders Dialogue program 

(Print Edition Title: The Power Of Dialogue) 

Copyedited by G.P. Wilson 

Comments to yanwei@bjreview.com 

Reply From the President

In his reply to the GYLD participants, President Xi said more young people from other countries are welcome to visit China for exchanges. He expressed his hope that young people, both in China and abroad, would contribute to the building of a community with a shared future for humanity by enhancing mutual understanding, developing friendships and achieving shared successes. 

"Happiness comes from hard work," Xi wrote. He also noted that China is a country with a vast territory and large population, and that in order to achieve national development and revitalization, the most important thing is for it to follow a development path that suits its local conditions. 

"Practice has shown that as the new and uniquely Chinese path to modernization grows even wider, it will bring better development prospects to China and more benefits to the world," the letter stated.

Even after completing a 100-year course of struggles, the CPC has remained true to its original aspiration and founding mission, Xi said, vowing that the CPC would work tirelessly to realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, and to promote the development and advancement of humanity.

(Source: Xinhua News Agency) 

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