Tsinghua Global Summer School (GSS) 2020 starts today

Tsinghua University’s special online Global Summer School (GSS) 2020 kicked off on Monday.

More than 1,000 students from 154 universities across 79 countries and regions are enrolled in this online summer school, which offers courses on the theme “Toward a Post-Pandemic World” for the next eight days.

Tsinghua President Qiu Yong welcomed the inaugural class of the Tsinghua Global Summer School (GSS) 2020 at the opening ceremony, which was livestreamed world-wide on various social media platforms.

“Today, by launching its Global Summer School, Tsinghua extends its fundamental commitment – educating and cultivating talents – to each and every participant here,” President Qiu said, delivering his opening remarks. “This program exemplifies Tsinghua’s spirit of ‘Actions speak louder than words’”.

Stating that the pandemic has brought the world to a standstill, causing widespread disruption and uncertainty to the economy and society, he expressed his hope that the summer school would inspire the young students to rethink and reimagine the global community, and to define our responsibilities in a post-pandemic world.

“As the young generation of students from around the world, your concerted efforts to address global challenges represent the hope of humanity. Your achievements and leadership will define our future, and will contribute to humanity through better preparation for the next crisis,” he added.

President Qiu announced that Tsinghua would hold the GSS every year from this year onwards.

The online summer school offers courses on nine topics with reference to the post-pandemic world, and is taught by top-notch Chinese and international professors, as well as leading experts from renowned international companies.

The nine topics are: Innovative Thinking Post-Pandemic; Living Together Sustainably: Learning to Transform Oneself and Society; Economy Post-Pandemic; Sustainable Development Post-Pandemic; Artificial Intelligence Application and Governance; Society Post-Pandemic; Lifelong Learning and Development; Future‐oriented leadership; and New Trend of Globalization and Global Governance.

In the next eight days, apart from taking in-depth online courses, the students will also enjoy virtual tours of Tsinghua Campus and its History Museum, Tsinghua Art Museum and the Graduating Students Works Exhibition as well as of Chinese multinational companies.

President Qiu’s speech was followed by a series of videos that showcased Tsinghua’s development, internalization and exciting campus atmosphere during the opening ceremony, including the music video featuring Mojia, a robot band developed by Tsinghua’s Academy of Arts and Design.

Professor Xue Lan, Dean of Schwarzman College at Tsinghua and Faculty Chair of GSS 2020, made an opening keynote presentation on “China’s Innovation System – Myth and Reality.”

During his special lecture, Professor Xue, whose teaching and research interests include STI policy, crisis management, and global governance, reviewed the evolution of China’s innovation system, assessed the progress and regrets in China’s innovation system, and reflected on the way forward.

According to him, coordinated opening-up and reform have served as two wheels for STI development in China. “Those reforms and openness enabled China’s innovation system to flourish,” he said, adding that China has always enjoyed strong leadership support for STI.

As a result, China’s investment in research and development (R&D) has been growing steadily, with industrial R&D becoming a major part, he said. Professor Xue also said the continued increase of foreign R&D centers in China has also contributed to China’s innovation system “in a very dramatic way”.

Following his presentation, the opening ceremony concluded.

Apart from the opening ceremony, the first day of the summer school features courses on the thematic topic of “Innovative Thinking Post-Pandemic”. Professor Pei-Luen Patric Rau, Vice Dean of the Tsinghua Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) Institute and also a faculty member of the Department of Industrial Engineering at Tsinghua, leads a workshop on “Developing Leaders in Innovation”. Professor Harry Shum (Shen Xiangyang), who is an international member of the National Academy of Engineering (USA), delivers a keynote speech on the current trends in machine learning and artificial intelligence on the topic “From Deep Learning to Deep Understanding”. Likewise, the China-Italy Design Innovation Hub hosts a webinar, with the theme of “Youth’s responsibility and innovation in an epidemic situation”.

Altogether 17 academic institutions of Tsinghua, including eleven schools, departments and institutions, four overseas bases and two international higher education alliances initiated by the university, are participating in the summer school this year.

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