On March 24th, the inauguration ceremony of WUN International Policy Research Network and the RUC-WUN Think Tank Conference were held at Renmin University of China (RUC). World University Networks (WUN) aims to support the governmental decision-making based on the intellectual resources of world top universities, and make joint efforts to contribute a shared future for mankind. The conference under the theme of “The Belt and Road” Green Development were co-organized by National Academy of Development and Strategy (NADS) at Renmin University of China and WUN, which is known as an international multilateral research cooperative organization.
The establishment ceremony was jointly initiated by Prof. Jin Nuo, Chair of Renmin University Council, Council Chair of NADS, Prof. John Hearn, Executive director of WUN, Jin Xin, Secretary- General of “Belt and Road” Think Tank Network, and Prof. Fanny Cheung, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prof. Liu Wei, President of RUC and Dean of NADS, Prof. John Hearn, Danilo Turk, Former President of Slovenia, and Martin Paul, Rotating Chair of WUN and President of Maastricht University addressed the opening speeches. In attendance were Ambassador Hisham EL-Zimaity, Former Assistant Foreign Minister for International Organizations and Multilateral Diplomacy of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Former Under Secretary of the US Department of Energy, David Sandalow, Inaugrual Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Prof. Peter Drysdale , Director of the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research at the Australian National University, Stuart Thorson, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Relations, the Maxwell School, Syracuse University, Prof. Gordon Houlden, Director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta, Prof. Huang Yu, Associate Vice President and Dean of School of Communication, Hong Kong Baptist University, Yu Hongjun, Former Vice-Minister of International Department Central Committee of CPC and Qu Zhenyuan, Former Chairman of Chinese Associate of Higher Education. Prof. Liu Yuanchun, President of RUC, Dean of NADS hosted the opening ceremony.
In his opening speech, Liu Wei stated that Renmin University of China, as the first new formal university founded by the Communist Party of China, embraced a long tradition as a national think tank, holding high theoretical level and outstanding resource advantages especially in terms of humanities and social sciences fields. With the solid foundation of academic theories, the experts and scholars of RUC hold the skills of applying subject tools and research methods to dissect and explain practical problems, which also roles as the unique and irreplaceable advantages to constructing university think tanks. As one of the organizers of this conference, NADS was selected as one of the first batches of 25 high-end national think tanks pilot units in China. Here, NADS collaborated with WUN and established WUN International Policy Research Network, aiming to strengthen the effectiveness in terms of transferring "knowledge exchanges" to "knowledge cloud storage", promoting the "think tank dialogues" to "think tank alliances", building an "intellectual silk road" and working together to contribute in global governance and development.
Prof. John Hearn indicated that WUN was committed to providing intellectual support to solve global problems and provide solutions through finding and sharing new knowledge and ideas. Hence, WUN advocates to establish a mutual trustful relationship and practice through a variety of practical works, in order to strive for human well-being by pooling consensus and promoting cooperation. This conference will surely provide a useful reference for global policy-making, and promote the optimal resolutions for related issues. It is hoped that WUN Think Tank will achieve greater development through innovative thinking.
Danilo Türk mentioned a conference he attended recently about global water-related affairs issues. He pointed out that the world is currently facing a series of global challenges including the global water supply crisis. Therefore, it is necessary to promote mutual trust and worldwide cooperation. As an important global initiative, “The Belt and Road” Initiative stimulates innovative thinking through the great political and economic influence. In the process of international cooperation, we must pay high sensitivity to maintain an indigenous culture and adhere to the idea of interconnection, as well as focusing on solving environmental issues.
Prof. Martin Paul addressed the conferences via video. He said that “The Belt and Road” development strategy first advocated by China had made important contributions in solving global issues. In the current era, universities in all countries should actively function, not only in conducting teaching and scientific research, but also participating in social construction, especially by cultivating young people as new forces to solve global problems.
Hosted by Prof. Yan Jinming, Director of the Office of Academic Affairs at Renmin University of China, Prof. Jin Nuo, Prof. John Hearn, Jin Xin, and Prof. Fanny Cheung pressed the start button at the ceremony together and formally established WUN International Policy Research Network.
The following session was keynote speeches. The first session was moderated by Liu Yuanchun. Jeffrey Sachs, Hisham EL-ZIMAITY, Jin Xin, Fanny Cheung, and Qu Zhenyuan delivered speeches on the subjects of following issues:
- Promoting the sustainable development of global environment through interconnection,
- Providing new solutions for the global governance through “ The Belt and Road” Initiative,
- Achieve the “ The Belt and Road” green development by university think tanks,
- Solving environmental issues through interdisciplinary and global cooperation,
- Strengthen higher education development in response to real problems and challenges.
The second session was hosted by Prof. Xu Qinhua, Deputy Director of the Office of Academic Affairs and Director of “The Belt and Road” Research Center of NADS. Yu Hongjun, David Sandro, Peter Drysdale, and Hou Bingdong delivered speeches on the subjects of the following issues:
- To advocate the concept of green development in the process of conducting “The Belt and Road” Initiative,
- How experts and scholars can play active roles in promoting green principles implementation,
- How to achieve global development through promoting interconnection,
- Enhance information transparency in the process of green development.
In the afternoon, four parallel forums were held respectively on the themes of “Law and Green Finance,” “Public Health and Climate Change”, “Cultural Understanding and Higher Education” and “Public Diplomacy and Community of Shared Future for Mankind”. Experts conducted in-depth discussion in the fields of laws and variant standards, climate change, green finance development, energy security, public health, cultural awareness, higher education, public diplomacy, and other issues which are faced by the countries alongside “The Belt and Road” Initiatives who need to achieve consensus in the process of constructing a community with shared future for humanity.
The parallel forum was organized by eight schools of RUC, including Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, School of Law, School of Public Administration, School of Environment and Natural Resources, School of Sociology and Population Studies, School of Education, School of International Studies and School of Journalism and Communication.
Directors from Twenty-six Chinese and overseas universities and research institutes as well as affiliated think tanks participated the conference. The delegation consisted by schools’ leaders, professors, and researchers, as representatives from 9 world top universities in America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania, attended the inauguration ceremony and the latter discussion. Other delegates also made statements on behalf of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Department, Central Committee of CPC, National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China, National Energy Administration, China Association of Higher Education and other governmental agencies, as well as the United Nations, World Bank, World Health Organization and other inter-governmental international organizations.
The conference also contained three supporting sessions, which included the preparatory meeting on the 23rd hosted by Prof. Du Peng, Vice President of RUC, the first closed meeting of WUN International Policy Research Network on the afternoon of the 24th moderated by Prof. Nie Huihua, Director of the Office of Academic Affairs at RUC and Deputy Dean of NADS, and the exhibitions of RUC’s excellent academic achievements and university history introduction organized by China Renmin University Press and other sponsoring schools. The participant scholars expressed great interest and exchanged ideas with the scholars of RUC.
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