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[PKUICF 2020] My 2020: Peking University Youth Forum held

NOV . 26 2020
Peking University, November 26, 2020: With the theme of “My 2020”, the Peking University Youth Forum took place on November 16 and kicked off the Peking University International Culture Festival. Six youth representatives from various countries shared what they witnessed and experienced during the unique and memorable year of 2020. CGTN anchor Tian Wei joined the forum as a special guest and talked about her stories of 2020. He Shu, associate professor from PKU School of Journalism and Communication, and Luo Ling, director of PKU Office of Global Communications, were also in attendance with an audience of around 150 students from Peking University.

Chen Jiaming, a Chinese student from the School of Economics, recounted his experience of being a volunteer amid the coronavirus outbreak in China. He participated in a volunteer program that was initiated to help students in Hubei province who could not return to school for their studies, and Chen was responsible for mentoring a girl with her English studies. “Like many other volunteers dedicated to the fight against the virus, we were sustained by our love, caring and compassion for others, and our volunteering empowered us to take pride in how we responded to the challenge, and made the world a safer, better and more peaceful place,” Chen said.

Chen Jiaming

Miki Fukugawa, a Japanese student from the School of Journalism and Communication, underscored the importance of information systems in the response to the pandemic. Information systems play a decisive role in managing data and other information. They are fundamental for making most informed decisions and taking decisive action. “Maybe there are still some problems in the way information is spread and in protecting the security of personal information. But with the first-hand information provided by information systems, the news media can report to people quickly and accurately. I believe that’s the key to obtaining the trust of people and showing care for them,” Fukugawa said.

Miki Fukugawa

Alexandra Pozhidaeva, a Russian student from the School of Journalism and Communication, recalled witnessing first-hand the challenges China had to face during the COVID-19 outbreak. She highlighted the help the Chinese and Russian people offered each other to combat the pandemic. “COVID-19 has once again demonstrated that mankind is a community with a shared future. Partnership is a valuable asset in the war against COVID-19 and is also the best choice for all countries as they together face global challenges. If we can fight together in this time of crisis, we may actually find out that the pandemic has even deepened our relations and brought us together more than ever,” she said.

Alexandra Pozhidaeva

Gustav Gillund, a Norwegian student from the School of International Studies, shared how his trip to Henan province with his girlfriend during the Chinese New Year made him think of his home back in Norway, and sparked reflections on the interconnectedness of the world. “I was hoping I could go back this Christmas, but this just seems more and more unlikely as the virus tightens its grip around many places back home. This has led me to some of the big realizations I’ve had this year, one of which was how extremely interconnected the world has become. Some places might do better than others, but the suffering of one continent, one country, will be felt across the whole planet,” he concluded.

Gustav Gillund

Due to the pandemic, many international students of PKU were not able to return to the campus, including Natasha Lock, a British student from Yenching Academy who participated in the forum online and shared her takeaways about 2020 thus far. “This incident was a striking reminder that behind every academic, every businessperson, every student is a human being. This is 2020—it has reminded us that we are all just people getting on with our lives and trying to do our best each day,” she said. Lock also recalled a range of activities she had undertaken, including offering online teaching to refugees in the UK and young women of rural China, as well as picking up her violin again.
Natasha Lock

Lin Yijia, a Chinese student from the School of Journalism and Communication, gave a talk filled with hope for the future. After impressing the listeners with a prologue in Spanish, she touched on her stressful postgraduate journey and her strong motivations in striving to be “the best of the best”. “I did notice that such intense peer pressure has made me more hard-working and more eager to explore the world than ever, because I feel inspired and motivated by you every day. I want to become the best of the best, and be able to make a difference, just like you guys. So, despite the stress, there’s always going to be hope,” she said.

Lin Yijia

After hearing the stories of the six youth representatives, Tian Wei stepped onto the stage to elaborate on her world in 2020. She recalled her experiences of interviewing renowned experts, scientists and other people in 2020 and stressed that they were the heroes who played a crucial role in the fight against COVID-19. "Everything we take for granted actually is not given. It's all coming to us with hard work, not our hard work, usually others hard work," Tian Wei said.

Tian Wei

Tian Wei also shared her feelings of working in 2020. “I have to say, this year it was very much me being inspired rather than the other way around ... everything I did, I felt anew,” she said. From conducting interviews to looking at the camera, Tian Wei felt anew because of this year, although she was doing the same type of work that she always did in the past. “This year was not just the pandemic to me. It was also a lot of different things,” she added.

Nobody knows what will happen in the future, but Tian Wei said we should have hope. “Hope is not a strategy. But hope is something that we can have in our hands and in our hearts,” Tian Wei said, adding that she went to Dandong and Shanghai this year, where she met many people who gave her hope.

“I need to be inspired because we are together in this year that none of us ever thought we would experience before. But as a result of that, all of us are having this opportunity to look at life anew, to be inspired, and to be on a learning curve again because every one of us, now, is a student,” Tian Wei concluded.

Following Tian Wei’s fascinating stories and thought-provoking remarks, the six youth representatives sat together with Tian Wei for a panel discussion in which they talked about China’s journalism industry and learned more about Tian Wei’s profession as an anchor and journalist. Tian Wei also took questions from the audience, sharing her ideas on how to enhance the discourse power of Chinese media and reassuring students majoring in journalism and communication that their skills and qualities will not be replaced by AI.
Written by: Li Wanqi, Li Zishuo, Wong On Lon
Edited by: Huang Weijian, Walker Darke, Daniel Tschudi
Photo credit to: Wang Hanying, Lv Chen
Source: PKU Office of International Relations