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PKU alumni in international organizations take actions globally against COVID-19

MAY . 12 2020
Peking University, May 12, 2020: The year of 2020 witnesses the COVID-19 pandemic, named as “the most serious global crisis since World War II” by UN Secretary General Guterres, which has become a painful memory of all peoples on our planet.

Facing the crisis, Peking University alumni in international organizations were among the first to lend a hand to Hubei immediately the epidemic broke out in the province. And now they are defending the entire world and human race from the coronavirus with every effort they can contribute.


Stay Strong, Hubei

At 5:00 p.m. on February 21, a large truck with 530 cases of medical alcohol arrived in Huangshi City, Hubei Province. These medical supplies were purchased by the staff of the BRICS New Development Bank who donated money spontaneously, and were the first batch of materials that Huangshi received from the staff of international financial organizations. Two days later, another parcel with hundreds of medical hand sanitizers arrived.
 

On February 21, the first batch of materials arrived in Huangshi

As a core member of the voluntary fund-raising team, Sun Chao, an internal audit expert of the BRICS New Development Bank, and Ge Qingqing, a legal specialist, played an active role. They also have another identity: Peking University alumni.

Since the outbreak they have been paying close attention to the latest situation. On February 14, their team formally proposed a donation in the whole bank. On February 23, two batches of medical supplies were received by Huangshi. The whole process took only nine days, with 116 international staff involved.
 

On February 23, Huangshi received the second batch of medical supplies

“My colleagues and I occasionally came up with the idea when we worked from home. Frankly speaking, I didn’t expect the procedure to be so smooth. Many PKU alumni in the bank, including Tian He from the Russian Department and Liu Xing’er from the School of Transnational Law, have played an active role in the fund-raising activities.” said Sun Chao.
 
The letter of thanks sent by the Headquarters on COVID-19 Prevention And Control for Huangshi

Wang Wenhao, alumnus of the School of Electronics Engineering and Computer Science, is a senior manager in the Central and South American office of the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization. Even as far away as Chile, he was also concerned about his motherland, especially after learning about the lack of medical supplies in Wuhan at the initial stage of the epidemic.

He mobilized his colleagues to collect information of medical suppliers and large-scale distributors in South America, shared with the Chinese Embassy to Chile, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and Chinese Enterprises Association, and assisted Chinese institutions to contact with local enterprises in Chile. In early February, medical supplies purchased in Chile were sent to hospitals in Wuhan for the first time.

 
Wang Wenhao (second from right) and his friends recorded a video to cheer for China when there was no case reported in Chile

Wu Kaiyue, an alumna of the School of Life Sciences who recently finished the internship in the World Health Organization and was supposed to join the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (Egypt) in April, has been stranded in the United States due to the suspension of flights. Although trapped in Seattle, she joined two Wuhan material docking groups in early February and became the night administrator of the 24-hour WeChat groups.

 
Wu Kaiyue’s work permit during her internship in WHO

In these groups, a large number of donors and front-line medical workers were gathered and connected directly. Considering the critical situation, every second counted. “These groups worked around the clock. But people in China had to sleep at night, so overseas administrators were required to take their place. The moment I saw the recruitment information, I signed up,” said Wu, “The excitement and sense of achievement were beyond description when we successfully transferred materials to Chinese hospitals. However, failures were inevitable, inflicting colossal anxiety to me.”
 

WeChat screenshot of Wu Kaiyue

One World, One Battle

A $12 billion fund was passed on March 4 by the World Bank Group in an effort to aid and assist countries in the fight against COVID-19. Mei Ling, who graduated from the Department of Sociology in 2017, was part of the preparation team responsible for project review and approval for South Asia, which was also the last step before the project is submitted to the board of directors. It usually takes three months for such projects to be fully implemented. Due to the critical situation, the preparation period was shortened to seven days, bringing a soaring workload to its staff.

As a result, Mei Ling has been working tirelessly every day for better coordination and communication through online meetings. An intangible yet real sense of mission motivated her, “It is my greatest consolation to make some contributions through hard work during the crisis.”
 

Mei Ling in her undergraduate period

Right after sending materials to China, Wang Wenhao and his colleagues turned to epidemic prevention and control in Latin America almost instantly. Despite being far away from the epicenter of the outbreak, South American countries have witnessed outbreak since March.

The Chinese embassy issued the Spanish and Portuguese version of the anti-coronavirus manual based on Chinese experience, which Wang Wenhao and his colleagues immediately shared with the United Nations agencies in Latin America, relevant government departments and local partners. Besides, they also introduced to them the global information sharing platform on fighting COVID-19 launched by China. In recognition of their efforts, the Ministry of Energy of Chile sent them a special thank-you email.

Regarding the misunderstandings of China during the pandemic caused by distance, cultural differences and lack of information in Latin America, Wang Wenhao responded positively and rationally. He also shared the latest research and experience in epidemic prevention and control in China with CNN and other international media and organizations and local government departments, where he received praise and positive response. “It’s significant to let the world know what China has done and how China controlled the epidemic within two months with professional and scientific methods,” Wang said.

 
Wang Wenhao (first from right) at work

Fang Xinyi, a master student from the PKU Department of History, is from Wuhan. Due to the lockdown of the city, she couldn’t go home for the Chinese New Year. In February, she went to the CP AOR team under the Geneva Office of the UNICEF Emergency Programme as an intern. The team was responsible for collecting, collating and translating professional advice and report documents to improve children’s safety and physical and mental health during the outbreak before sharing with countries and regions in need.

Recently, UNICEF and other international organizations jointly released the fairy tale book You Are the Hero in My Heart to popularize the knowledge of COVID-19 for children aged 6-11 around the world. Fang Xinyi was part of the team responsible for the translation and audio production of this book. In addition, she, along with other team members, assessed the current situation of child protection in different parts of the world, and sent the research results to local governments and NGOs for reference in political decisions.

 
Fang Xinyi and colleagues are working online during the pandemic

Together at Home with Unremitting Efforts

The epidemic is under control in China, with hundreds of cities, including Wuhan, recovering and reviving in economy and industry. But epidemic prevention and control is still necessary. That’s why the BRICS New Development Bank issued a three-year bond to provide financial support for better public health system in Hubei, Guangdong and Henan provinces, which are most seriously affected by the epidemic.

However, the pandemic is still torturing the rest of the world, especially Europe and America. With Chile and other South American countries formally asking for help from China, the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization officially joins the battle, donating medical materials through regional offices to partners that suffered most. Wang Wenhao is currently in charge of material collection and donation of Bolivia, Chile and Brazil agencies, working day and night for a better future for human being.

What’s worse, the outbreak of COVID-19 poses severe challenges to the fragile public health systems in Africa. Concerned about the children who are in urgent need of help in areas affected by isolation, economic stagnation and social panic, Fang Xinyi and her team are eager to do something to ease their pain.

Wu Kaiyue, who is going to work in Africa, also cares about Arica. After “retiring” from the night administrator of the docking group, she has devoted herself to the voluntary work of drawing epidemic maps in Africa, which she believes will be beneficial to epidemic prevention and control in the continent. “We are not bragging when we say we want to fight for the entire humankind.” Wu said with determination.


Map of epidemic situation in Africa made by Wu Kaiyue and her partners

Fortunately, Europe has seen fewer infections in the past few weeks. Fang Xinyi, who has been working from home in Geneva, goes out for a walk from time to time. “In Geneva, spring has come and the weather is perfect recently,” she said. “I hope that everyone’s life can return to normal as quickly as possible, and the whole world will conquer the difficulties with concerted efforts.”

In response to PKU students’ rising enthusiasm to global peace and development, Peking University Student Career Center set up the International Organization Talent Office, which is the first such among Chinese universities. From 2017 to 2019, Peking University has 42, 84 and 89 students (including graduate students) employed in international organizations as full-time staff or intern, ranking the first for three consecutive years nationwide.

By now, PKU has established the career service and guidance system for students who are keen to international organizations, supported by the framework of “a special office, an international organization employment information net, a textbook, a credit course and an expert database”. In addition, the International Organization Talent Office has held a series of PKUIO Career activities all year round. More than 50 events have been held so far, offering access to thousands of college students across the country.


Profiles

Sun Chao, undergraduate of Peking University Law School (admission year: 2005), Master of Finance of London School of Economics and Political Science (admission year: 2015), Chinese certified public accountant, and International Certified Internal Auditor. In November 2018, he joined the BRICS New Development Bank as an internal audit expert.

Ge Qingqing, graduate of Peking University Law School (admission year: 2010). From 2014 to 2018, she worked in the Beijing Office of the World Bank Group International Finance Company as a legal assistant. In November 2018, she joined the BRICS New Development Bank as a legal specialist.

Wang Wenhao, a PhD graduated in 2017 from the School of Electronics Engineering and Computer Science of Peking University. After graduation, he joined the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization. Since March 2018, he has served as a senior manager in the Central and South America office.

Mei Ling, undergraduate of Sociology Department of Peking University (2013-2017) and Master of Public Management of Cornell University. In January 2019, she joined the Washington headquarters of the World Bank as a consultant.

Wu Kaiyue, undergraduate of School of Life Sciences of Peking University (2013-2017) and Master of Public Health of Columbia University. In July 2019, she became an intern in the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (Egypt), and will serve as consultant.
 
Fang Xinyi, an undergraduate of the School of Foreign Languages of Peking University (2014-2018) and a graduate student of the Department of History. In February 2020, she went to the Geneva Office of the UNICEF Emergency Programme for internship.

Written by: Jin Yi, Yu Cong
Edited by: Xie Zezhong
Source: Peking University Student Career Center