At 9:00am Beijing time on June 28th, Tsinghua University’s Global Summer School 2021 (GSS2021) officially kicked off. 1035 outstanding young students from over 151 universities in 96 different countries and regions gathered together on the “cloud” for the opening ceremony. Tsinghua University Vice President and Provost, Yang Bin, delivered a welcome address, and Ms. Beate Trankmann, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Coordinator in China also attended online and gave opening remarks.
Vice President Yang Bin delivering a welcome address
Tsinghua University Vice President Yang Bin first welcomed students joining the GSS2021. He said that at present our global society faces profound challenges, such as the global health crisis, climate change, and barriers to international exchange and cooperation brought by the pandemic, all of which require us to find global solutions. As a global university shouldering great responsibility, Tsinghua established the GSS to respond to these questions, letting our actions speak louder than words.
Yang Bin stated that Tsinghua is dedicated and motivated to address the challenges of a new era. It is an era of opportunity and action, and one that requires us to rely on our values of openness, integration, and resilience to drive forward. More openness promotes values that are compassionate, inclusive, and equitable. More integration helps us break through physical boundaries, barriers across disciplines, and technological limitations to make greater contributions to society. More resilience exhibits adaptive strength and leadership that inspires.
Yang Bin emphasized that the GSS2021 will play an important role in responding to global challenges and building a community with a shared future for mankind by imparting knowledge, pursuing innovation, and cultivating future leaders. He encouraged each and every participant to be involved, to take action, and to collaborate with each other to apply knowledge gained from the Masterclasses into practical solutions for the future. He looks forward to seeing the fruitful outcomes and contributions of students’ participating in the GSS and wished every participant, and the program itself, great success.
Ms. Beate Trankmann delivering opening remarks
Ms. Beate Trankmann, UNDP Resident Coordinator in China, said in her speech that Tsinghua GSS2021 brings together young, bright minds from all over the world, creating a rare opportunity for the coming together of wisdom and the promotion of innovative solutions. She expressed her appreciation of the theme of “Innovation for Sustainable Development” for the Global Summer School, which she believes reflects Tsinghua University’s deep commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Ms. Beate Trankmann stated that at UNDP, they support innovation for the global goals in various ways from guiding policy innovation to encouraging sustainable urbanization with green technology. Last year, the UNDP worked with Tsinghua University to launch an international forum, sparking a global conversation on AI, international cooperation and government. During her speech, Ms. Trankmann also announced that another UNDP-Tsinghua Initiative will be held this year, to explore innovative solutions for achieving the SDGs.
On behalf of UNDP, Ms. Beate Trankmann wished Tsinghua a very happy 110th anniversary, and hopes that Tsinghua will continue to be a source of knowledge, collaboration and innovation in the future. She believes that GSS2021 will be a wonderful, inspiring and productive summer school and hopes that all participants will be able to apply what they have learned and strive to make SDGs achievable for all of society.
During the performance segment of the summer school opening ceremony, participants viewed footage from Tsinghua’s recent and trademark events such as the Tsinghua University International Students and Scholars Gala Night, the International Cultural Festival, the 110th Anniversary Celebration Gala, and the Global Forum of University Presidents, together showcasing Tsinghua’s open, inclusive and international campus atmosphere.
To follow, Li Jinliang, Dean of International Affairs of Tsinghua University and Professor of the School of Economics and Management, gave an insightful lecture entitled The Chinese Economy: Prosperity and Prospects, marking the first of the Masterclass lectures to be held during the 9-day summer school.
Professor Li Jinliang delivering the Masterclass
Li Jinliang introduced the overall situation of China's recent economic development from three key aspects: achievements, challenges and opportunities. He guided students to explore key factors behind China’s rapid economic rise, and stated that since 1978, China's economic rise has been mainly the result of industrialization and urbanization. Looking to today, the Chinese economy has entered a new stage, and is also facing new opportunities and challenges.
Li Jinliang believes that although China faces many challenges such as maintaining economic equilibrium, financial stability and environmental sustainability, as China's economy enters a new stage, its economic development has shifted from "high-speed growth" to "medium-high-speed growth." China’s economic structure has become more optimized, with the fruits of development benefiting a wider portion of society, and has moved from factor-driven and investment-driven to innovation-driven. In the 40 years of growth since 1978, these changes have strengthened China's social and economic foundations, and have also enabled China's economy to maintain a vision of strong and sustainable development. Li Jinliang concluded his Masterclass by emphasizing that continued reform and opening up is the way forward for a robust Chinese economy, in which innovation is key. In the Q&A session that followed, Li Jinliang provided detailed responses to questions asked by participants.
The 2021 Tsinghua Global Summer School (GSS 2021) will be held from June 28 to July 6. Themed Innovation for sustainable development, GSS 2021 is a 9-day program organized collaboratively by 22 Tsinghua academic institutions, including 17 different colleges and departments, 3 overseas institutions, and 2 international associations for higher education initiated by Tsinghua.
GSS 2021 explores Innovation for sustainable development through various topics including economics, innovation, psychology, education, culture, artificial intelligence, and leadership. It integrates academics with innovation and interaction by engaging with students through masterclasses, an SDG Hackathon, forum discussions, virtual visits and cultural events. The SDG Hackathon has been specially added into the program to strengthen the cultivation of students' innovative thinking and incorporate the values of sustainable development.
GSS strives to break through boundaries, technical limitations and different identities to address social issues. It aspires to integrate resources and inspire collaboration inside and outside class, on and off campus, in China and in other countries, and online and offline.