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Friday, November 25, 2016, 22:36

Educational leaders promote youth engagement in B&R

By Li Yinze

HONG KONG - Youth engagement is crucial to the success of the Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative, and the international educational sector should step up efforts in nurturing talented people, according to academics from international universities.

Academic leaders from about 10 universities from Egypt, Italy, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, United Kingdom, as well as the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, agreed on Friday to launch more student exchange and oversea internship programs.

This would help students have a better understanding of the rich culture and diverse opportunities in places along B&R routes.

They made the pledge at a forum hosted on Friday by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) in celebration of its 80th anniversary.

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim anticipated growing demands for expertise and talents from the city to fulfill its “super connector” roles. He said education plays a key part in meeting the rising demand.

Wu Wai-lok, a Hong Kong student majoring in management at PolyU, said the initiative means more career opportunities for young people like her. She said they should look beyond Hong Kong and find work on the Chinese mainland and other places overseas.

Gulsana Zhanshuakova, a Kazakh student majoring in business and trade at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, is on a student exchange trip at PolyU, which lasts three and a half months.

She said the B&R Initiative has rekindled enthusiasm for the ancient silk road business network among people in her native country, Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan aspires to be a main logistic hub on the new economic belt. The common understanding of Kazakh people is the benefits the initiative will brings will be more than economic growth and deeper cultural exchanges.

PolyU launched a Silk Road International Summer School this year in collaboration with Xi’an Jiaotong University in Shaanxi province. About 130 students from Kazakhstan, Russia, Italy, the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong visited Xi’an - where the ancient Silk Road started.

Mukhambetkali Burkitbayev, first vice-vector at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, said he was pleased his students said the experience they gained in Hong Kong would help their future endeavors in Kazakhstan - including building infrastructure.

He said lack of education about entrepreneurship was a weakness in universities in Kazakhstan. But Burkitbayev hopes to see more cooperation with Hong Kong universities in this area.
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