XJTLU Mindfulness Centre was officially inaugurated

14 May 2021

Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) W.E. leader Mindfulness Centre was officially established on April 30.

This is the first university to establish a mindfulness centre based on its business school in China. Professor Jorg Bley, Dean of International Business School Suzhou (IBSS) at Xi’an Jiaotong- Liverpool University, and Mindfulness centre donor, Mr. Chaoyang Zhou, who is also a founder of the Dali Qiwan Mindfulness Center,
unveiled this event jointly.

Prof. Youmin Xi, Executive President of XJTLU; Dr. Eddy Fang, Deputy Dean of IBSS; Prof. Roberto Dona, Associate Dean of Business Engagement; Prof. Ewout Van Der Schaft, Associate Dean of International Affairs; Dr. Li Pan, Director of W.E.leader Mindfulness Centre; Dr. Peng Liu, Head of HeXie Management Research
Centre; Mr. Zhihong Xi, qualified trainer of Suzhou MBSR; Ms. Guojuan Qu, trainer of Suzhou MBSR, and more than 50 faculties, students, alumni and followers attended the event.

Dr. Li Pan, Director of the W.E.leader Mindfulness Centre and initiator of this project, stated that the idea of bringing mindfulness back to China originated from her visit to the United States in 2012. After some world-renowned universities set up mindfulness centres, IBSS now has also joined this rank. Dr. Pan said: "Mindfulness is actually a combination of Eastern traditional culture and Western modern science. ‘W.E.’ has three meanings: a blend of East and West, a wise explorer, and using ‘we’ mindset instead of ‘me’. Finally, she hoped that everyone could contribute to mindfulness and wish everyone a happy life and a successful career.

Professor Jorg Bley said: “IBSS not only benefits students from theoretical knowledge but also attaches great importance to the cultivation of soft skills. Moreover, we integrate the concepts of responsibility and sustainable development into teaching. Mindfulness can help us better focus and reduce the interference of external distractions. We are now committed to assisting mindfulness through research and integrating mindfulness into teaching. At the same time, we will strengthen the connection between mindfulness and the community, inviting more people to join the practice.”

The establishment of the W.E. leader Center received a lot of congratulations, including a special one from the founding father of the contemporary mindfulness movement—Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn. In the video, he congratulated the establishment of the XJTLU W.E. leader Mindfulness Centre and expressed affirmation for
the achievements of such East-West co-operation in the field of mindfulness in the past four decades.

Mr Chaoyang Zhou, the donator and the first chairman of W.E. leader Mindfulness Center, said that mindfulness has had a profound impact on him, helping him to get through a dark period in his life before. He realised that practising mindfulness not only helps people with physical and mental health problems but also helped executives run their businesses more efficiently and humanely. Mr Zhou hoped to do some contributions to
mindfulness and, at the same time, help more people benefit from this activity. Finally, he expressed his vision for mindfulness, which he hoped mindfulness could contribute to a healthy and happy China. Also, Mr. Zhou will contribute to the development of the Mindfulness Centre together with the board members. Other members of the committee include Professor Huiqi Tong, Director of the Mindfulness Programme at Stanford University; Chris Tamjidi, Director of the Mindfulness Centre at Oxford University; Lepeng Li, founder of the Now APP; and Halima Sheikh, an internationally certified health and Well-being trainer.

The opening of the W.E.leader Mindfulness Center also received congratulations from many mindfulness experts, who were unable to be there due to the epidemic. All of them made a video for the opening ceremony of the Mindfulness Center. In addition to the mindfulness centre board members, Mr. Xinhua Liu, Principle investigator & Associate Dean of School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences of Peking Univerisity, Deputy Director of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Committee, Head of Mindfulness Group in China Association for Mental Health, Kevin Fong, Executive Director of Mindfulness Committee of life Care Association of China and Mr. Haifeng Guo, Suzhou Mindfulness qualified MBSR teacher also sent sincere congratulations to the W.E. leader Mindfulness Center.

Haiying Li, a current graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, is a 2020 alumni of XJTLU and the first student head of W.E. leader. Haiying Li witnessed the development of W.E.leader from a simple idea to a mindfulness centre of its current size. She said: “As a member of this team, we hope that through our own efforts, we can spread the concept of mindfulness more deeply. Moreover, we hope that mindfulness can benefit people and thereby create more value to society.”

Afterwards, everyone visited the XJTLU W.E. leader Mindfulness Centre and experienced the charm of mindfulness under the guidance of Dr. Li Pan and Mr. Chaoyang Zhou.

In the afternoon, Mr. Chaoyang Zhou conducted a mindfulness workshop for more than 20 faculties from the XJTLU Centre for Knowledge and Information. In this activity, Mr. Zhou first introduced the concept, function and scientific proof of mindfulness. Later, he led everyone to do several classic mindfulness exercises, such as
mindfulness breathing, mindfulness yoga, body scanning. Moreover, he interacted with participants actively, guiding them to do a short sharing after each session.

Dr. Xin Bi, Director of Centre for Knowledge and Information, said: “I attended a mindfulness workshop
by Mr. Zhou last year. At that time, I did a breathing awareness exercise, which made me feel very relaxed. However, I burst into tears after the mindfulness, because I suddenly realized how tired I was, which has been neglected for a long time.” He further mentioned that after more than a year of continuous mindfulness practice, he found he had a sharper awareness of body and mind. “Although my workload is the same as before, However, I will no longer ignore my body's feelings. When I feel stressed, I will pay more attention to myself. Care, rest and sleep. My family and colleagues feel that I have become more tender and relaxed.”

During this activity, many faculties expressed that they often feel tired, but they would ignore such feelings of exhaustion. This workshop will give them a chance to break, helping them to check their body's needs, and thereby work better in the future.

By Linlin Xie, Yarui Wu
Edited by Yifei Wu

14 May 2021