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Inspired by the times

Time:2023-07-12 10:11:00 Source: CHINA DAILY China Youth International

  International youth dress up in traditional Chinese garments in Qufu, Jining, on July 5 during their trip in Shandong. CHINA DAILY

  More than 500 youth from 85 different countries and regions gathered together in cultural hot spot Shandong province for the 2023 Global Youth Conference, Chen Xue reports.

  More than 2,500 years ago, ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius said his famous quote: "It's a pleasure to have friends coming from afar." And this sense of hospitality has remained in Shandong province — Confucius' home — ever since.

  During the 2023 Global Youth Conference, held from July 6 to 9 in five cities of Shandong — Dezhou, Dongying, Jining, Tai'an and the capital city Jinan — more than 500 young foreign friends from over 85 countries and regions across the world gathered in the province, a scene that Confucius would surely have been delighted to see.

  The conference was hosted by the Shandong Provincial People's Government, the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the All-China Youth Federation and the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation. With the theme of "New Era, New Civilization, New Youth, and New Mission", the conference encouraged young people to share their wisdom and solutions to address global challenges, promote common values, and contribute to the establishment of a community with a shared future for mankind.

  At the opening ceremony of the conference in Jinan on July 7, Yang Zhen, vice chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, encouraged young people around the world to contribute to cultural exchanges.

  "Young people are the most dynamic creators and cultural inheritors," Yang said. "I hope they will see each other with an open mind, respect the diversity of the world's civilizations, and actively promote equal dialogue and mutual learning among different countries, ethnic groups and cultures."

  Wang Guan, anchor and commentator at CGTN and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, held a similar view.

  Born and raised in Jinan, Wang said his early experience of learning English and later becoming a journalist has taught him that one should always keep an open mind. In the past six months, for example, he interviewed 13 presidents and prime ministers of different countries, and these face-to-face interactions have not only shattered some previously-held impressions he had toward those countries but also allowed him to see that world leaders are also people like the rest of us — people who also get excited by simple topics like family and their favorite sports teams.

  "We might not always be the same, but the beauty of this world comes from the fact that we're all different," said Wang at the opening ceremony. "Our differences matter, but our common humanity matters more."

  Also born and raised in Shandong, Wang Yaping, vice president of the All-China Youth Federation and astronaut of the People's Liberation Army Astronaut Corps, gave a speech at the event and shared her life story. Starting off as a girl from a small village in Yantai, and becoming one of China's seventh batch of female pilots and then China's first female astronaut, Wang said her experience might be the best example of how the destinies of young people have always been closely tied with the times.

  "All the opportunities that I had when I grew up should be attributed to the development of China and the prosperity of the time," Wang said. "Living in this era is the greatest blessing of our generation, and being able to integrate my own dreams with the dreams of the country and fighting for them is my greatest happiness."

  This is probably one of the reasons why more events like the Global Youth Conference should be held, so that platforms can be built for exchanges to take place.

  "Social progress needs to rely on the power of youth, but in the meantime, the growth of youth also needs support from society," said Lin Wu, secretary of the Shandong Provincial Party Committee and chairman of the Standing Committee of the Shandong Provincial People's Congress. "Shandong will continue to ensure that its young people have the support to follow their passions and chase their dreams."

Original Title:Inspired by the times
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