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Habibillah Ben Daoud: Building a bridge between China and Africa

SEP . 07 2020
Peking University, September 7, 2020: Habibillah Ben Daoud, an international student from Comoros, has spent 12 years in Beijing before graduating from Peking University with a Ph.D. degree in 2019. Leaving such a place full of memories still feels unreal for him. Through his life in China and his academic interest in international studies, Daoud is tightly connected to China.

Fruitful life at PKU

Having gone through a competitive selection in Comoros, Daoud obtained a scholarship and set out to study in Beijing Language and Culture University in 2007. For neither Chinese nor English is his mother tongue, Daoud had to learn both languages at the same time when he first came to China. This was not an easy task for a student who just came to a foreign country, but Daoud managed to handle properly. Thanks to his outgoing personality, he quickly became friends with many Chinese students and international students. Through daily communication, he made rapid progress in both Chinese and English. This solid language foundation prepared him well for his future study, and also helped him get accustomed to the new environment.

After graduation, he entered PKU in 2009 and spent the following years in the School of International Studies. “I think it is a precious opportunity for me to study about international relationships here in China, so I chose to continue my study,” Daoud said. He obtained his master’s degree in Diplomacy and Ph.D. degree in International Politics during his time at PKU, and he said that he enjoyed every period of his college life. Daoud said that every period of study set the foundation for future studies, and he enjoyed the different feelings of being an undergraduate student, a master and a doctor.

Habibillah Ben Daoud

During his life at PKU, Daoud got along well with Chinese students. They dined out together and travelled together, gradually building up a solid friendship. “I really love to talk with students. Trying to communicate with others is what an International Politics student should do, and I did obtain a lot from it,” Daoud said. He joined Peking University African Student Association, and played an active role in various activities. He believes that through talking to people, we can learn more unwritten knowledge.

Daoud deeply loves the campus of PKU. As a sports lover, he often works out by Weiming Lake or at the gymnasium. PKU Library is another of his favorite spots, with rich academic resources helping him a lot. He feels that PKU has offered sufficient infrastructure and resources for students, which make it a wonderful place to study in. He said that he would definitely recommend PKU to students in his country who would like to study abroad, because PKU has a long history of international communication, and students here are open-minded. Daoud believes that a friendly and open atmosphere at a university is important for foreign students, because it helps them adapt to the new environment and learn more about the local culture.

Daoud (first from right) and his colleagues in China-Africa Business Council

Always have China in mind

Daoud's goal is consistent throughout the past 12 years—to be a diplomat. To reach his goal, he worked as an intern in Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Comoros. He also had an internship in China-Africa Business Council, which aims at guiding and serving Chinese enterprises in Africa, promoting China-Africa business cooperation. “Maybe my strength is meager, I would like to try my best,” Daoud said. He appreciated the great help of the Belt and Road Initiative for Africa, which carried out fair cooperation without interference in other's internal affairs. Thanks to the Belt and Road Initiative, Africa has witnessed the rapid development of infrastructure construction and economic growth. Daoud said that with positive cooperation, both China and Africa would benefit more from it. What he would like to pursue is to further the cooperation between China and Africa.

Habibillah Ben Daoud

Having spent 12 years in Beijing, China has become a second home to Daoud. “The experience here is quite satisfying for me, I have great examples to show to my friends and my country,” Daoud said. By telling them what is happening in China, he hopes to help them change their way of thinking. He thinks that with better understanding of China’s development, Comoros will have more chance to find a suitable way for itself.

What Daoud learned in China totally changed his life. He found that it is important to communicate with different people, which can lead to a better understanding of a different culture. Daoud believes that better communication is the best way to reduce biased judgement.

When using one phrase to conclude his life in China, Daoud described it as a two-way relationship, “China is part of my life, and my life is unbreakable with China.” Since his life is deeply influenced by his life in China, he believes that he will be engaged in affairs closely related to China in the future.

Written by: Wang Yupin
Edited by: Xu Penghang