Academic Activities
Academic Activities

The 2nd Forum on International Students from Africa Held in Beijing

Writer:Li Huiruo, Liu Xuejie Date : May.11, 2024

On April 15, 2024, "The 2nd Forum on International Students from Africa,” organized by the China Africa Institute (CAI) and hosted by the University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (UCASS), was successfully held at the Liangxiang Campus of the University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The theme of the forum is "New Youth in the New Era: We Grow Together with China." More than 30 African student representatives from 16 African countries, studying at over ten universities and research institutions in Beijing, Shanghai, Hubei, Hunan, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Liaoning, and other places in China, as well as nearly 100 experts, scholars, teachers, and students from Chinese universities and research institutions, gathered to discuss the mission and responsibilities of young people in the new era of China-Africa relations. H.E. Zhao Zhimin, Secretary-General of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Prof. Zhang Zhengwen, President of the UCASS, representatives of African students, doctoral student at the UCASS, the Ambassador of Ethiopia to China, Tefera Derbew Yimam, and the Ambassador of South Sudan to China, Monday Kunba, attended the opening ceremony and delivered speeches. Prof. Li Xinfeng, Executive President of the China Africa Institute, presided over the opening ceremony of the forum.

Zhao Zhimin is delivering speech

H.E. Zhao Zhimin pointed out that the friendship between China and Africa has a long history, and despite the vast distances separating them, they have always been a community with shared future. Throughout the long history of China-Africa exchanges, youth exchanges and cooperation have been an important part of the sincere friendship between the two sides. Since the beginning of the 21st century, especially in the new era, Chinese and African youth have played a crucial role in the historical process of realizing the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation and achieving national modernization and regional integration in Africa. They have inherited the spirit of friendly cooperation between China and Africa, infusing the virtue of diligence, hard-working, enthusiasm, and vitality of Chinese and African youth into vivid portrayals of friendship in the new era between China and Africa. The joint efforts of Chinese and African youth have empowered the construction of a China-Africa community with shared future with strong youthful energy, characterized by shared responsibilities, win-win cooperation, shared happiness, cultural prosperity, mutual security, and harmonious coexistence.

Zhao Zhimin emphasized that youth are the most active and vibrant force in society, and the hope of a nation lies in its young generation. The future of the Chinese-African relationship also rests on the shoulders of the young generation. The Chinese government has always attached great importance to fully unlocking the role of youth work in supporting and driving the development of China-Africa relations. President Xi Jinping has repeatedly emphasized the valuable role of youth in deepening China-Africa people-to-people exchanges in his important speeches on China-Africa relations. As the new session of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation is about to be held, the significance of hosting a new session of the Forum on International Students from Africa at this time is extraordinary. We hope that Chinese and African youth will illuminate their youthful ideals, inherit and develop China-Africa friendship, contribute to China and Africa's joint journey towards modernization, carry on historical missions, promote the construction of a more just world order, and contribute wisdom and strength to the construction of a high-level China-Africa community with shared future.

Zhang Zhengwen is delivering speech

Prof. Zhang Zhengwen, President of the University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, stated that while China has been developing friendly relations with African countries, it has also been engaging in diverse and colorful exchanges and cooperation in the field of education. Since its establishment, the University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has adhered to an internationalized educational philosophy of openness and integration of Chinese and foreign cultures. It has maintained a small-scale, high-quality model of education for international students, dedicated to cultivating advanced professionals in philosophy and social sciences who are proficient in languages, have solid expertise, and understand cultures, thus fostering friendship and understanding between China and other countries. This forum is a vivid practice in bringing together Chinese and African youth and building a community with shared future between China and Africa. It is hoped that African students can further understand China through this forum, become participants and leaders in China-Africa friendship, and bring new vitality into China-Africa cooperation.

Tefera Derbew Yimam is delivering speech

H.E. Ambassador Tefera Derbew Yimam, the representative of African students and the Ambassador of Ethiopia to China, mentioned that Africa is endowed with abundant natural resources and has enormous potential in various fields. Additionally, the cooperation between Africa and China in human resources development is gaining momentum. In recent years, an increasing number of African youths have come to China for higher education and participated in cultural exchange activities, becoming bridges and links for friendship between China and Africa. China has provided strong support for educational programs for African students, assisting Africa in enhancing its human resource capacity. Ambassador Yimam expressed deep gratitude for this support.

Ambassador Monday Kunba is delivering speech

H.E. Ambassador Monday Kunba, the representative of African students and the Ambassador of South Sudan to China, expressed that the experience of studying in China is of great significance to every African student and to their respective countries, governments, and people. The effectiveness of cooperation between Africa and China is evident in various fields and at all levels, and African students in China are witnesses and participants in this cooperation. Ambassador Kunba hopes that African students will focus on the key issues of Africa-China cooperation, actively engage in Africa's modernization and integration efforts, and contribute to promoting friendship between Africa and China. The young generation is the practioner of African Union's Agenda 2063, and vital forces in achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Li Xinfeng is presiding over the opening ceremony

The forum released a new book titled "China in the New Era China in the Eyes of African Students" (in both Chinese and English). Dr. Zhang Mengying, the main editor of the book and Associate Researcher at the CAI, introduced that in 2021, the CAI initiated a theme essay competition titled "In These Ten Years, We Grew Together with China" for African students studying in China, which received enthusiastic responses. From the submissions, the China-Africa Institute selected over 30 outstanding essays, categorized into five chapters: "Impressions of China," "China-Africa Friendship," "China-Africa Cooperation," "Belt and Road Initiative," and "Mutual Learning." These essays were compiled and published under the title " China in the New Era in the Eyes of African Students." The book, from the unique perspective of African students, records the tremendous achievements of China in various aspects such as economics, technology, and culture in the new era. It expresses the love of African students for China and their admiration for China's development miracles, reflecting the increasingly close and pragmatic cooperation between China and Africa in multiple fields, as well as the mutual learning, mutual promotion, and common development between the two sides. The book not only bridges the temporal and spatial distance between China and Africa, promoting the inheritance and development of China-Africa relations and friendly cooperation, but also strengthens the bond between the peoples of China and Africa, especially the younger generation.

Zhang Mengying is introducing the new book

The new book "China in the New Era China in the Eyes of African Students" (in both Chinese and English)

After giving a comprehensive introduction to the new book, Dr. Zhang Mengying announced the second call for essays, themed " Chinese path to modernization in the Eyes of African Students." She warmly welcomed African students studying in China to participate in this essay competition.

Participants at the forum

The forum comprises three sessions: “Adhering to the concept of common development for the well-being of the people in China and African countries” ,“Mutual learning between China and Africa towards modernization” and “Cultivating a harmonious public opinion environment to demonstrate positive international images” .

Wang Xiaoming is presiding over the first session

Speakers of the first session

Wang Xiaoming, Vice President of the CAI, presided over the first session discussion, with eight speakers participating.

During the forum, Kaze Armel, Associate Researcher of China-Africa Economic and Trade Law Research Institute of Xiangtan University, from Burundi, emphasized that further strengthening cooperation between China and Africa in trade, politics, and culture aligns with the common interests of the nearly 2.6 billion people of China and Africa. Associate Professor Sun Zhaoyang, Vice Dean of School of Global Education and Development, UCASS, highlighted the need for China, like many African countries, to develop modernization according to its own national conditions and characteristics. He emphasized that China's modernization path differs from that of developed countries and serves as a new model for developing countries. Egyptian Sinologist Hassan Ragab, Director of the Confucius Institute of Suez Canal University, emphasized the role of international students as cultural ambassadors, inheritors of China-Africa friendship, and promoters of common development. Wang Ting, Lecturer of Beijing Foreign Studies University, shared insights on the significance of education cooperation in promoting common development between China and Africa. Agbo Patience Ndidiamaka, Master’s Student of UCASS, from Nigeria, vividly depicted the diversity, resilience, and shared vision of China-Africa cooperation, using a tapestry as a metaphor. Kakuru Dassy, Doctoral Candidate of Department of Legal Studies of Xiangtan University, from Uganda, discussed the two pillars of China-Africa cooperation: understanding legal frameworks and promoting cultural exchanges. Lalouly Mounia, Doctoral Candidate of Tong Ji University, from Morocco, analyzed healthy international cooperation models and explored new potential for China-Africa cooperation in the new era through empowerment, education, and diversified investment. Dr. Lin Xuefen from China-Africa Institute, reviewing the achievements of China-Africa cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and discussing the far-reaching impact of China-Africa investment cooperation.

Dr. Mendo’o is presiding over the second session

Speakers of the second session

Dr. Mendo’o, Deputy Director of International Exchange Department of China-Africa Business Council, from Cameroon, chaired the second session on “Mutual learning between China and Africa towards modernization,” which featured eight speakers.

Ibrahim Sallieu Jalloh, Doctoral Candidate of China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), from Sierra Leone, emphasized that the friendly cooperation and development between China and Sierra Leone epitomize China-Africa development, offering hopeful prospects for both nations. Associate Professor Huang Juan, Vice Dean of School of Government, UCASS, introduced the modernization of China's governance system and capacity, providing insights into China's experiences for African development. Moumouni Guillaume, Director of International Cooperation, Public Relationship and Concierge Department of School of Political and Juristic Sciences, University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin, analyzed the development of China-Africa cultural and educational exchanges and the challenges they face based on her own experiences studying and working in China. Luo Wenxu, Director of International Students Division of China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), highlighted education as a crucial area of China-Africa cooperation, sharing the achievements of international student training at China University of Geosciences (Wuhan). Agen-Davis Lawrencia, Doctoral Candidate of Tong Ji University, from Ghana, discussed mutual learning between China and Africa in areas such as economic cooperation, cultural exchange, transportation, information sharing, and technology transfer. Safari Ithang Joshua Franco, Master’s Student of UCASS, from South Sudan, emphasized the importance of exchanging knowledge and experiences, communicating between cultures and people, and engaging in political dialogue and strategic partnerships as key dimensions of China-Africa mutual learning. Dr. Li Huiruo from China-Africa Institute, proposed that China-Africa mutual learning is not only a theoretical concept but also a practical method with significant implications, helping both sides address challenges in the complex international environment. Budala Musana, Master’s Student of UCASS, from Uganda, analyzed the importance of enhancing mutual understanding, respect, and cooperation between Uganda and China.

Alpha Mohamed Jalloh is presiding over the third session

Speakers of the third session

Dr. Alpha Mohamed Jalloh, Director of China Africa Institute, University of Makeni, Sierra Leone, chaired the third session on “Cultivating a harmonious public opinion environment to demonstrate positive international images,” featuring seven speakers.

Scheel Mutombo Kianga, Doctoral Candidate of University of International Business and Economics, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, analyzed the important roles of education, culture, and global leadership in building a positive China-Africa international image. Associate Professor Liu Yanhong from UCASS used Huawei's South Africa branch as an example to illustrate the significant role of enterprises in shaping a positive international image. Randol Mardoche Mabandza from the Republic of the Congo, Undergraduate Student of Xidian University, analyzed the deepening of China-Africa relations in various fields based on his own study experience in China. Zhang Linhua, Researcher of African Language Resources Research Center of Tong Ji University, emphasized the role of African students as bridges of China-Africa friendship and witnesses and participants of China-Africa cooperation. Joseph Musampula, Master’s Student of Liaoning University, from Zambia, highlighted his experiences in China as a microcosm of the growth of China-Africa relations and cultural exchanges, reflecting the continuous development and progress of China-Africa relations. Dr. Liu Xuejie from the CAI suggested strengthening media exchanges between China and Africa to enhance mutual understanding, trust and the transmission of positive energy. Mengesha Tadele Mamuye, Doctoral Candidate of UCASS, from Ethiopia, advocated for the promotion of inclusive, open, communicative, and respectful values to facilitate the construction of a harmonious and positive international image for China and Africa.

Zhan Long is presiding over the closing ceremony

Gohi Bi Foua Claude Alain is making summary speech


Zhou Yunfan is making summary speech

The closing ceremony of the forum was presided over by Zhan Long, Assistant to the President of UCASS, Executive Dean of School of History. Associate Professor Gohi Bi Foua Claude Alain from the School of Biological and Chemical Engineering and School of Foreign Languages, Panzhihua University, from Cote d'Ivoire, and Vice President Zhou Yunfan from the CAI, respectively, delivered summary speeches.

Alain first expressed gratitude to all the speakers and stressed the importance of youth in future China-Africa cooperation. He highlighted how African students have learned from China and the significance of applying these experiences to their own countries' development. He eagerly anticipated deeper cooperation between China and Africa for mutual benefit.

Zhou Yunfan highlighted the forum's focus on common development, mutual learning, and friendship cooperation. She emphasized on China's openness to collaborate with Africa for mutual growth. Stressing the role of youth in bridging cultural gaps, she expressed optimism about their contribution to China-Africa relations. Additionally, she underscored the CAI’s commitment to cooperate with Chinese and African institutions to foster expertise sharing and enhance collaboration for a brighter future.

(Photograph Courtesy of UCASS)