Making Concerted Efforts and Sharing Common Trials and Hardships
—Chinese Universities Support Partners Overseas in Fighting COVID-19

[Source]    Confucius Institute Headquarters [Time]    2020-05-20 15:31:29 

As a Chinese saying goes, “Nothing, not even mountains and oceans, can separate people with shared goals and vision.” Since the onset of COVID-19, universities and colleges around the world have sent videos and letters of sympathy at the first opportunity to their Chinese partners, expressing their support and care for China with the most sincere feelings. Lines with warmth and videos full of heartwarming blessings move China and its people.

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages around the globe, many countries are confronted with severe challenges. Chinese universities across the nation have also sent their blessings and epidemic prevention materials to their partners, shared their experience in combating the virus, and tried to the best of their abilities to help them tide over difficulties.

Fighting the Epidemic Together and Tiding over Wind and Rain

In the early spring of 2020 when the COVID-19 broke out, overseas Confucius Institutes in the United States, New Zealand, and Brazil sent their blessings to China’s Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST). The encouraging words, coming from afar, touched the hearts of teachers and students in HUST.

China’s response to the epidemic has seen gradual improvement thanks to more than two months’ unremitting efforts made by the Chinese people. Wuhan, where HUST is located, reopens, bringing the life here back to normal track. However, countries around the world are facing increasingly severe challenges in the fight against the disease, deeply affecting the hearts of teachers and students in Chinese universities.

HUST Vice President Chen Jianguo, on behalf HUST, sent letters of sympathy to the university’s overseas cooperative universities respectively--Wayne State University in the US, the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Brazil.

In the letters, he expressed the gratitude to three universities for offering sympathy and support at the trying time when HUST was battling against the epidemic, and also HUST’s readiness to share Wuhan’s successful experience in COVID-19 containment and render support to three universities to overcome difficulties.

M. Roy Wilson, President of the Wayne State University, said in his reply, “HUST is one of our most important partners,” adding that international cooperation is more important than ever at this unprecedented and special time.

Jonathan Le Cocq, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canterbury, noted in his reply that Wuhan and China have made great sacrifice in the fight against the epidemic and what has been achieved so far has not been easy. Extending gratitude to Vice President Chen Jianguo for his care, Jonathan expressed appreciation for Chen’s “Confucius Institute+” initiative and expectation to constantly advance cooperation among universities of China, the US, New Zealand and Brazil when the epidemic is over.

“As a proverb goes, a friend in need is a friend indeed. One of our international strategies is to strengthen cooperation with Chinese universities, especially HUST,” Alessandro Fernandes Moreira, UFMG Vice Rector, said in his reply, adding that the research deliveries, help and support from China proves that the university has chosen a right path.

The friendship between Chinese and foreign Confucius Institutes’ cooperative partners has become even more profound despite the rampaging COVID-19. On behalf of Changsha University of Science and Technology (CSUST), CSUST President Cao Yijia sent a letter of sympathy to Julius Sawolo Nelson, President of University of Liberia. He noted CSUST faculty and students will stand firmly with University of Liberia in the epidemic containment, and believed the Liberian government will lead its people in prevailing over the disease, and the work and life in the country will return to normal in the near future.

Nelson thanked CSUST for its support in the university’s battle against the virus. He noted that the epidemic tests conscience while misfortune tests friendship. The friendly relations between the two universities will grow stronger. University of Liberia hopes to enhance cooperation with CSUST, and work together to safeguard the life and health of all teachers and students, in a bid to win the war against the epidemic.

Zhang Liqin, President of Huzhou University, sent a letter to Kamal Abdullayev, Rector of Azerbaijan University of Languages, expressing sincere sympathy to all teachers and students at the university.

Zhang said that in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, Huzhou University stands ready to share experience in epidemic response with Azerbaijan University of Languages, and hopes to disperse the darkness of the pandemic with the joint efforts from people around the globe.

Liu Li, President of Beijing Language and Culture University, also sent a letter to Muhammad Jaffer, Rector of National University of Modern Languages, at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in Pakistan. President Liu thanked National University of Modern Languages for supporting China’s fight against the virus by donating money and materials.

As Pakistan is now facing severe challenges brought by the pandemic, Beijing Language and Culture University will join hands with its Pakistani counterpart to unite as one and make every effort to combat the epidemic.

To quote a line from the Book of Songs, "You throw a peach to me, I give you a white jade for friendship". Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in many countries, Liu Hong, President of Dalian University of Foreign Languages, had sent messages of sympathy and sincere greetings to the presidents of ten overseas partner universities, including Novosibirsk State Technical University in Russia, Okayama Shoka University in Japan, Incheon National University in the Republic of Korea and Kore University of Enna in Italy.

She was convinced that with joint efforts from all side, we are sure to win this global war against the epidemic. And once the virus is defeated, friendship among people of all countries will be further strengthened, and educational exchanges between cooperative universities will be closer and deeper.

Georgia has also been facing increasingly difficult situation in epidemic control since March. Lanzhou University has sent a letter of sympathy and thanks to Tbilisi Open University at the first opportunity, hoping to tide over the difficulties together.

In the letter to Giorgi Amilakhvari, Rector of Tbilisi Open University, Yan Chunhua, President of Lanzhou University, expressed his sincere care and sympathy to the cooperative university and his readiness to offer support and assistance to Tbilisi Open University. It is believed that the two universities will definitely overcome the current dilemma.

Calling the coronavirus disease the enemy of mankind, President Yan hoped that Tbilisi Open University could have firm confidence and belief in embracing the victory over the epidemic in the near future. Meanwhile, he also expected both sides could constantly expand cooperation fields and march forward together.

Rector Amilakhvari expressed sincere gratitude to Lanzhou University’s care and support in his reply. He affirmed the profound friendship sharing weal and woe between the two sides in times of adversity, and expressed confidence in the victory over the epidemic as well as the hope to intensify cooperation between both sides to create a better future.

Donating Materials and Passing on Love to Defeat the COVID-19

In order to help their partner universities fight the epidemic, Chinese universities have also donated epidemic response materials to their overseas partners to the best of their ability.

Since the very beginning of the outbreak around the world, HUST had donated 15,000 masks to its three cooperative universities overseas to help them pull through.

On May 1st, local time, CSUST also donated epidemic prevention materials to University of Liberia to protect the life and health security of teachers and students.

On May 8th, local time, University of Antananarivo in Madagascar received 10,000 medical masks donated by its cooperative university Jiangxi Normal University. These supplies crossed boundless oceans to reach the shores of Madagascar at a critical moment of Madagascan people’s fight against the pandemic, rendering support for the whole university’s epidemic control.

On May 4th, local time, Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (LUTCM) provided Slovak Medical University with 1,500 disposable medical masks to help university staff and faculty in their personal protection to between cope with the impact of the epidemic.

Beáta Frčová, Vice Rector of Slovak Medical University and foreign head of Confucius Classroom, thanked LUTCM for such kind gesture. She noted in her reply that the donation is a timely assistance, which also witnesses the sincere friendship between the two universities once again.

Guilin University of Electronic Technology (GUET) donated some epidemic containment materials to University of Battambang in Cambodia, including 10,000 disposable medical masks and four infrared thermometers.

Sieng Emtotim, Rector of the University of Battambang, thanked GUET for its donation. “At the moment, the epidemic prevention and control in Cambodia is at a critical stage, and the supplies this time provide a strong guarantee for the university to deal with the epidemic and resume work and study,” the rector said.

She noted, as a cooperative partner of GUET, the University of Battambang wishes to further strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the two universities, and exchange experience to tide over difficulties.

In a donation ceremony, GUET and the University of Battambang donated a batch of epidemic control materials to the Battambang provincial government. The materials will be used to help the government with relevant epidemic containment work, which will relieve the pressure of epidemic prevention and control in Battambang.

Dalian University of Foreign Languages donated materials and supplies to its Confucius Institute partner universities overseas to assist them in defeating the virus. The first batch of materials has been dispatched to and arrived in Okayama Shoka University, Incheon National University, University of Carthage in Tunis, University of Aveiro in Portugal, Kore University of Enna and the Confucius Institutes in above universities.

Joining Hands and Sharing Experience to Contribute to Fighting COVID-19

As the pandemic is raging and spreading around the world, deepening cooperation and joining hands to combat the virus has become a consensus of all countries.

HUST once dispatched more than 30,000 medical workers to 10 hospitals to treat the COVID-19 patients, thus accumulating a great mount of experience.

At the request of UFMG and with coordination from multiple parties, experts from HUST’s School of Public Health, departments of respiratory medicine, infectious diseases, cardiology and laboratory medicine of Tongji Hospital held a video conference with experts and professors from UFMG on April 29th. Chinese experts first briefed on foreign experts on the experience in containing the coronavirus disease and then had exchanges on the problems arising from the treatment process with Brazilian experts.

“Thank you very much, Huazhong University of Science and Technology and Tongji Hospital, you experience is vital to our fight against the disease,” said Aziz Tuffi Salib, Dean of International Affairs of UFMG.

In Tajikistan, entrusted by Firuza Nurullozoda, the deputy mayor for commission on culture, education and culture of Khujand City, the Confucius Institute at the Metallurgy and Mines Institute and a team of teachers in Russian teaching from School of Foreign Studies of the China University of Petroleum (Huadong) co-compiled a COVID-19 prevention handbook.

The handbook made detailed introduction on the general information, infection symptoms, prevention and treatment of the coronavirus and its latest development, as well as the experience in diagnosis and treatment of the disease with traditional Chinese medicine.

Being the first book on COVID-19 prevention in Tajikistan, the handbook has provided a reference model for the people of Khujand to better deal with the epidemic, and also served as a testament to the joint response to the epidemic and the profound friendship between China and Tajikistan. At present, the first batch of handbooks has been donated to the health and epidemic prevention department of Khujand city.

“Great partnership knows no boundaries.” Amid a severe situation where the COVID-19 is spreading globally, only by working together with unity can the world prevail over the pandemic. However long the night, the dawn will break. No winter lasts forever, and every spring is sure to follow. The pandemic will eventually pass, and Chinese universities and overseas cooperative institutions will always be hand in hand and closely linked.

Source: Huazhong University Science and Technology; Confucius Institute at University of Liberia; Confucius Institute at Azerbaijan University of Languages; Beijing Language and Culture University; Dalian University of Foreign Languages; Confucius Institute at Tbilisi Open University in Georgia; Confucius Classroom at Slovak Medical University; Confucius Institute at University of Battambang in Cambodia; Confucius Institute at Metallurgy and Mines Institute in Tajikistan; and Confucius Institute at University of Antananarivo in Madagascar.