A Year Four student at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University recently won an award at the 13th Asia-Pacific Youth Model APEC Conference for her speech on women’s education and health, focusing on women’s re-employment after leaving school for pregnancy.

“We suggest supporting local young women by optimising educational policy, providing sex education in both secondary and tertiary education, conducting online health workshops to change young girls’ negative attitudes towards returning to school after delivery, and providing consultation and childcare programmes for young parents who are still in school,” said Bingxuan Dai, a BA English Studies (Applied English) student, who won the conference’s Best Copywriting Award.

Bingxuan Dai (second from left to right)

The Model APEC, founded in 2010, simulates the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) meeting to promote APEC-related knowledge and the spirit of regional cooperation among young people.

The 13th Model APEC’s theme was Youth Vision for SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations). More than 100 youth representatives from universities across China attended the opening day at XJTLU, a supporter of the conference.

“I learnt a lot from the conference. It has not only improved my critical and comprehensive thinking abilities but also let me meet many new people who care about international affairs as much as I do,” said Dai.

“The economy I represented is Thailand. During the preparation process, I consulted a lot of information and found that my topic involved issues such as religion. This experience improved my awareness of respecting local cultures and customs in international discussions.”

What impressed Dai most at the conference was the comment from the judges that some of the youth representatives’ plans were about helping local development through charities, while the fundamental goal of international organisations is to promote the joint economic development of all countries.

“It made me realise that to be a global citizen, we must open our minds and look at the big picture. I hope to participate in more activities like this in the future and contribute to global sustainability,” she says.

Dr Ellen Touchstone, Associate Dean of Social Responsibility and Sustainable Business Education at IBSS, said in her speech: “Everything we do at IBSS is to demonstrate and teach students how to be a responsible business leader in the future.”

Dr Ellen Touchstone, Associate Dean of Social Responsibility and Sustainable Business Education at IBSS

She talked about the importance of sustainable development, encouraging people to reduce their carbon footprints and practice sustainability daily. She also stressed that it is not enough to only think about sustainable development; we need to take action and proactively seek cooperation to do meaningful things and change the world.

In this year’s Model APEC, the youth representatives discussed digital economy, agriculture, women, education, science and technology, and put forward suggestions for cooperative development in the Asia-Pacific region, combining with the Action Plan for Sustainable Development Goals. After rounds of selections at XJTLU, three students stood out and attended the Model APEC conference on behalf of XJTLU.

 

By Xiaoyan Jin

Edited by Luyun Shi and Patricia Pieterse

Translated by Xiangyin Han

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