Xinjiang, located in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, is hosting a captivating training program for 23 young sinologists hailing from 21 different countries. This endeavor is aimed at bolstering communication between these budding scholars and presenting them with a first-hand understanding of the region’s rich history and present-day significance.
Scheduled for a duration of three weeks, the program offers a diverse curriculum incorporating academic lectures, field trips, and hands-on mentoring sessions. This immersive approach provides the participants with a comprehensive grasp of Xinjiang’s cultural and historical landscape.
A core element of their study revolves around the global implications of the Belt and Road Initiative, marking its 10th anniversary in 2023. Together with Chinese experts, these young scholars dissect policy systems, product supply mechanisms, and typical projects affiliated with this initiative, enabling a deep dive into its local and global ramifications.
Besides this, the theme of the “Cultural Silk Road” beckons their attention. The sinologists will journey to key locations such as Urumqi, Kashi, and Turpan, which lie at the heart of the Silk Road Economic Belt in Xinjiang. Here, they will trace the footsteps of ancient traders and explorers, shedding light on the region’s integral role in the historic Silk Road’s development.
Peng Yubin, a distinguished official from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and deputy director-general of the Bureau of International Exchange and Cooperation, voiced his support for the program. He believes that it fosters the continuation of the values embedded in the Belt and Road Initiative. “Promoting the Silk Road’s ethos of peace, cooperation, and mutual understanding sets the stage for deeper interactions between China and the global community,” he remarked.
Participants like Khilola Ochilova, a dedicated Chinese language instructor from the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages in Uzbekistan, view this as a golden opportunity. “It’s a chance to strengthen the amicable ties between China and Uzbekistan, and I’m committed to being a beacon of this friendship,” she shared.
Inaugurated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 2014, the Young Sinologists Training Program was envisioned as a global nexus. Its aim is to nurture young sinologists worldwide, supporting their endeavors in China studies. This includes fostering collaborations with eminent Chinese academic, cultural, and tourism institutions. In doing so, it paves the way for enduring dialogues between international academic bodies and Chinese think tanks, furthering the advancement of global sinology research.
While 2023 marks the first instance of Xinjiang playing host to this initiative, the program will also unfold in other locations, including Shandong Province and Shanghai.
Yan Naimin, a senior official from Xinjiang’s Department of Culture and Tourism, encapsulated the broader vision. “By deepening young international scholars’ understanding of Chinese culture, we hope to enhance the global community’s appreciation of China. We’re optimistic that their Xinjiang sojourn will foster a lasting love for the region and spur the global propagation of Chinese cultural heritage.”