Engagement program provides international learning experiences

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Engagement program provides international learning experiences

By Cao Chen in Shanghai | China Daily 

Students enrolled in the global engagement program launched by Shanghai Jiao Tong University on June 26 will be engaged in tackling typical issues faced by countries involved in China and the Belt and Road Initiative. According to the statement of the university organizers, over 10 countries and regions will be involved in the program that includes 13 projects.

The projects cover research and surveys on specific themes before coming up with solutions to problems related to the environment, medicine and civil engineering.

Ten of the projects will be carried out during the summer, while the remaining three will be held in winter, from December to January next year. Each project will last between two and four weeks.

More than 200 students are expected to join the program, according to the university.

“Every project is challenging as most of the students have never set foot in these areas,” says Cao Yongkang, director of the International Research Center for Architectural Heritage Conservation at the university.

“The program will definitely motivate them to realize their social responsibility in the new era and inspire them to solve the common problems of humankind.”

Cao will lead one of the teams in investigations of villages in Zhejiang province’s Lishui city.

This project will involve setting up furniture and facilities that are urgently needed by residents. The team will later visit villages in the Italian Alps to explore new development models for locals, and compare the practices for these two countries.

“The project is designed for those majoring in architecture, city planning, sociology, and other related subjects, and will equip them with a comprehensive understanding of rural revitalization,” says Cao.

In another project, team members will visit the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, Africa, and cooperate with students and professionals there to compile an African pharmacopoeia, an official code of standard specifications of drugs which documents the source, ingredients, clinical dosages and side effects.

“People in some African countries rely on local herbal remedies, but no official pharmacopoeia is available in those regions,” explains Fu Lei, a professor from the school of pharmacy at the university who initiated the project in 2018 after several trips to Africa.

Last year, team members of this particular project completed their research on two medicinal plants in Africa and helped formulate botanical research practice norms for the locals.

“I hope the research experience and technology in China’s drug industry can support African countries to standardize drug use and lift the quality of local medicine,” says Fu.

This year, the project will involve the analysis of three other botanical drugs and the documentation of the findings in the pharmacopoeia, he adds.

The project will also feature academic exchanges. Medical students studying for their doctorates at Addis Ababa University will get to visit Shanghai Jiao Tong University and share insights with their Chinese peers.

Other projects of the global engagement program will focus on learning about the waste treatment methods of Singapore and Indonesia, investigating and promoting rural revitalization in Bulgaria, as well as improving the legal environment for foreign investment in Kenya.

Launched in 2018, Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s global engagement program initially had eight projects that comprised 78 domestic and international students.

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