UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI

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UoN participates in the Experiencing China Summer School Program 2018

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UoN students experiencing China

As part of the realization of the MoU between the University of Nairobi and Tsinghua University, UoN was well represented at the 2018 Experiencing China international Summer School at Tsinghua University, Beijing.

For the second time since the programme was launched, UoN through the Advancement Office sponsored two students to attend. The Chair of the Women Students’ Welfare Association, Mary Ojwang and  one of the best students in civil engineering, Mwendwa Kiko.

 

The pair departed on 14th July 2018 and spent two weeks at Tsinghua University studying and experiencing Chinese culture, Education and political systems among other areas. They got to interact with students from all walks of life and from some of the top universities in the world including Oxford, Imperial College- London, the National University of Singapore and l’EcolePolytechnique de Paris. They were able to engage in passionate discussions with their fellow students in the fields of urbanization, environment, history, women, online education, creative city, architecture, geography, industrial frontiers, innovation, future and youth and culture. China has a lot to teach Kenya in many of these areas, for example, the development and management of infrastructure, or how to create and sustain strong economic growth. The converse is also true, however: through interactions with the best and the brightest from the rest of the world, China is seeking solutions to many pressing problems that it is faced with, such as dealing with a high level of environmental pollution, or finding a balance between having a strong government and respecting the citizens’ freedom of expression.

 

The two students also got a wonderful opportunity to sample the Chinese culture, Chinese cuisine, visits to important Chinese cultural sites, such as the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City and enormous museums such as the Palace Museum, the Chinese Museum of Women and Children and the National Art Museum of China. They truly got to taste China in all its various facets: modern and traditional, dynamic and immovable, relaxed citizens and strict government.

 

The importance of such interactions cannot be overstated. China is currently five years into what it calls the Belt Road Initiative (BRI). This ambitious initiative, announced five years ago by Chinese leader Xi Jingping, is aiming to create a new Silk Road, linking together 68 countries which together account for 65% of the global population and 40% of global GDP through a series of land and sea linkages with China at the centre. It would completely redefine trade and communications for the majority of the world’s population. Right now, China is the elephant in the room, but once this initiative is complete, China will be the room itself.

 

Tsinghua University is a key piece in the BRI puzzle. It is a training ground for talent from Belt Road countries, through its International Master of Public Administration in the Belt and Road Initiative (IMPA-BRI), as well as the home for many of the scholars whose work has contributed to development of the initiative. A close partnership between the University of Nairobi and Tsinghua University would therefore help both countries to do their part towards the achieving of this ambitious goal

 

In light of this, the Experiencing China programme is unbelievably important. Though the period of interaction itself is quite brief, it is nonetheless a booster for the East Asian dragon and the East African lion as they reach for the stars. 

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