John Paul Grima is an instructor in academic English at Tsinghua University’s Language Centre, where he and his colleagues design and facilitate courses that improve the language and international competencies of Tsinghua students.
Ahead of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, he reflected on the development of Tsinghua in recent years, shared his expectations for the upcoming Congress, and talked about China's constructive role on the world stage.
Here is the full Q&A with John Paul:
Q: How would you describe your Tsinghua experience as a faculty member?
John Paul: Tsinghua has an inclusive and team-oriented culture. There is a strong sense of shared purpose and collaboration in the classroom, on the Tsinghua campus and in Tsinghua’s global community. Tsinghua’s students are exceptionally talented and motivated. All of these factors make being a faculty member exceptionally rewarding and inspiring.
Q: Since you have been at Tsinghua for the last five years, what are some of the biggest changes you have noticed during this period?
John Paul: The first thing that comes to my mind is Tsinghua’s openness and international engagement. In the past five years, Tsinghua has implemented its first global strategy, established a more influential overseas presence and initiated a number of university networks. These have allowed Tsinghua to further expand its global reach and impact. At a time when the world has undergone complex changes and is facing urgent challenges it is clear that cooperation is needed more than ever. Tsinghua has responded to the call and is fulfilling a leadership role in higher education, enhancing collaboration and impact with its university partners around the world.
Q: What are your expectations for Tsinghua in the next five years?
John Paul: Tsinghua’s pursuit of excellence, its historical achievements and global aspirations give me confidence in the next five years and beyond.
When President Xi visited Tsinghua University in April 2021, he called for building platforms for international exchanges and cooperation in education and culture as a joint response to global challenges. As an international faculty member of Tsinghua University, this particularly resonates with me. It reminds me that Tsinghua’s role in talent cultivation and global collaboration is more important than ever.
Q: What are you looking forward to in the upcoming 20th National Congress of the CPC?
John Paul: The 20th National Congress is a historic occasion. One of the aspects I find extraordinary about the National Congress is the representative profile of its delegates. They come from all areas of China and from all walks of life, including ethnic minority groups and grassroots representatives.
In the context of challenges facing China and the world, such as climate change and public health, I'm looking forward to understanding delegates' policy objectives and insights.
Q: What kind of role do you expect China to play in the future?
John Paul: There are many aspects which could be explored but for me the defining feature is China’s connectivity and inclusiveness. Since I first visited China in 2007, major policies and projects have been realized. For example, the eradication of poverty; the rollout of high-speed railway that connects rural regions to cities; the successful hosting of two Olympic games; and, the promotion of multilateralism in the Belt and Road Initiative and many other regional and international platforms. Initiatives such as these demonstrate China’s commitment to bringing people together, and prioritizing the lives and livelihoods of the people. As China’s development story and contributions continue to resonate around the world, there is a growing recognition of China’s role in the world. For example, China’s constructive role in the global economy, its efforts towards the UN’s sustainable development goals, its breakthroughs in new frontiers of human exploration in space and scientific discovery, to name just a few. The future is brighter because of China's role in the world!
Reporter: Guo Lili, Sangeet