Belt and Road Talent Development Program benefits participants from BRI countries: Tanoto Foundation China
15 Nov 2021


The Belt and Road Talent Development Program, co-organized by the Tanoto Foundation China, allows participants from the Belt and Road countries to gain not only training on essential knowledge and skills, but deeper understandings about China and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), said Wu Wei, secretary general of the Tanoto Foundation China.


Themed “Unimpeded Trade”, the 2021 online seminar of the Belt and Road Talent Development Program was launched on November 12, after which Wu took an interview with the Belt and Road Portal (BRP), sharing his stories working with the program.


BRP: Why did the Tanoto Foundation China decide to sponsor the Belt and Road Talent Development Program in the first place?


Wu Wei: Since the BRI was proposed eight years ago, it has grown to be an important mechanism encouraging countries across the globe to cooperate with each other. Mr.Sukanto Tanoto, founder of the Tanoto Foundation China has paid continuous and close attention to the initiative. He announced at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2016 that he would donate 100 million yuan (about 15.64 million U.S. dollars), in order to provide consistent support for BRI talent development in the following ten years.


As one of the major projects of the foundation, the Belt and Road Talent Development Program is committed to promoting people-to-people bonds and increasing global recognition of the BRI through talent exchange activities. The program aims to establish a communication mechanism integrating people from the government to the private sector, and from the industry to the enterprise. Through communication and exchanges between the political, business and academic elites along the BRI routes, we hope to enhance mutual trust and understanding, introduce China's development path and the BRI, and contribute to creating a shared future of mankind that features inclusive cultural exchange and economic integration.


BRP: What has the program achieved by this day?


Wu Wei: The foundation has been working with the International Cooperation Center of National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to launch a series of talent training programs since 2017.


59 students from 27 countries have received their diplomas from Tsinghua University through our program. The foundation also organized a number of short-term training programs in cooperation with schools such as Tsinghua University, Jinan University and Huaqiao University. To date, there have been 13 seminars, in which 557government officials, corporate executives and scholars from 34 countries and regions have participated, receiving positive feedback.


BRP: Could you share with us some feedback or comments from the participants of the program?


Wu Wei: Our participants not only gained deeper understandings about the BRI, but they would proactively introduce the initiative to people around them after they return to their own country. They would share with the community the experience in China, leading more people to have more accurate and positive understandings about the country.


For instance, lately we heard from a former Malaysian student, who had received her graduate degree from Tsinghua university after one-year study. She told us that the learning experience at Tsinghua has helped her to establish a personal value of lifelong learning, and guided her to firmly believe in the good act of helping others, which, according to her, are significant gains and inspirations for her lifetime growth.


We are also glad to hear that after going back to Malaysia, she engaged in a career related with the BRI, helping Chinese companies to smoothly fit in the Malaysian market.


BRP: What were some memorable stories that you would like to share about the program?


Wu Wei: Recently I was impressed by the story of a former Brazilian student, who chose to work in the local community and provide social service to people of poor living standards after he went back to the Sao Paulo state of Brazil.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people in his community had no access to basic living supplies. He organized a number of volunteers to help those people, allowing more than 300 households to stay healthy and safe through the pandemic.


He told us that he felt satisfied when he found out that the knowledge and skills he learned in China were truly practical in real life in terms of making actual difference. From our side, it was pleased to learn that students graduated from our program are using what they have learned to participate in social governance.


BRP: Under the context of the global pandemic, how would you evaluate the significance of talent exchange and educational cooperation among the BRI countries and regions?


Wu Wei: As a Chinese saying goes, “the key to sound relations between countries is friendship between people,” which indicates that it is of vital importance to enhance people-to-people bonds in promoting the BRI. However, under the global pandemic, it becomes more difficult than before to have direct communication among people of different countries.


Nevertheless, we believe that it is exactly in such situation that requires us to work even harder in promoting the educational cooperation projects in more diversified ways like holding online seminars. By continuing to engage people in the talent training program, we expect them to be able to participate in social governance in the future and work in various fields including those related with fighting against the pandemic.


The Tanoto Foundation China believes that education has the power to change people's lives. We look forward to having more students joining our program to establish essential knowledge system that is required for them to provide better service to their countries, communities and people.


We also hope that the pandemic will soon come to an end, so that our students can come to China and learn, in a more direct way, about the BRI, the Chinese society and Chinese culture.


Source: Belt and Road Portal