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International Interdisciplinary Innovation Talent Development and Research Forum along with Grand Commencement of the 2023 GEC Summer Research Program

By Yiran Zhuo, research fellow of ASI Global

August 15, 2023 UPDATED 12:17 AM. GMT+8

A milestone was achieved as the International Interdisciplinary Innovation Talent Development and Research Forum and the commencement of the 2023 GEC Summer Offline Research Program, co-hosted by GEC Academy and supported by Jiushi Tourism Group — International Youth Growth Camp, received an enthusiastic response. This event served as a vibrant nexus, drawing together a diverse assemblage of nearly 500 distinguished guests. Among them were esteemed scholars and experts representing prestigious Chinese universities, government officials, and notable business leaders.

The occasion also welcomed approximately a hundred accomplished professors hailing from internationally acclaimed universities and revered research institutions worldwide, many of whom hold esteemed positions within the GEC teaching faculty. This collective gathering, alongside over 2,500 students who participated in the 2023 GEC Summer Research Program, delved into critical topics including innovative talent cultivation, global competencies, cross-border talent exchanges, and dynamic academic-industry collaborations. The collaborative momentum of this event set a robust course for fortified global educational partnerships while underscoring the shared mission of the GEC teaching faculty in shaping a more interconnected educational landscape.

Mr. Baoli Liu, Executive Secretary-General of the Organizing Committee of China-ASEAN Education Communication Week and Former Inspector of the Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges at the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China

The forum kicked off with several opening speeches. Mr. Baoli Liu emphasized the broader scope of education internationalization in his opening address. He noted, “Education internationalization encompasses comprehensive enhancements to educational systems, the sharing of high-quality educational resources, the alignment of talent development with global standards, the establishment of digital networks for international education, and the expansion of platforms for educational collaboration dialogues.”

Mr. Ning Zhang, President of the International Competence Development Committee in the Chinese Society of Educational Development Strategy

Mr. Ning Zhang talked about the global surge in student mobility, stating that “while it brings opportunities for cross-cultural exchanges and mutual respect, it also poses challenges like intercultural understanding and language barriers.”

Mr. Sheng Yan, President of GEC Academy

Mr. Sheng Yan warmly welcomed and expressed gratitude to the forum's attendees, especially to over a hundred professors from esteemed international institutions and research bodies, convening in Shanghai, and to the students participating in the 2023 GEC Summer Research Program. Mr. Yan underlined the continuous pursuit of cultivating international interdisciplinary innovation talents in his speech, recognizing the coexistence of challenges and opportunities along this path.

Professor Chas Bountra, Pro-Vice-Chancel for Innovation and Professor of Translational Medicine at the University of Oxford

The forum was enriched by a special address delivered by Professor Chas Bountra, whose keynote speech, aptly titled “Collaborative Solutions for Global Challenges,” shone a spotlight on the pivotal role of international cooperation in tackling global issues. Professor Bountra's focus extended to the realm of medical advancements and the nurturing of innovative talents. He underscored the indispensability of visionary leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs in driving scientific exploration and industrial progress to create tangible change.


The keynote speeches delivered by six distinguished guests were a cornerstone of this forum, covering a diverse range of topics, and offering insightful perspectives on international innovative talent development.

Professor William Eskridge, the Alexander M. Bickel Professor of Public Law at Yale Law School

Professor Eskridge's exploration of "An Innovative Path to International Talent Cultivation" began by examining the dynamics between ordinary individuals within society. He underscored the paramount importance of global cooperation, particularly in confronting worldwide challenges and propelling educational innovation. Notably, he highlighted the universality of the challenges the world grapples with, encompassing climate change, pandemics, and nuclear weapon threats. In a compelling call to action, Professor Eskridge advocated for collaborative endeavors across humanity to address these concerns. He aptly cited, “Projects like those embraced by GEC Academy stand as prime illustrations, fostering mutual comprehension and cross-cultural learning among disparate nations, cultures, and academic spheres.”

Professor Hui Li, Professor and Doctoral Supervisor at Peking University

Professor Li's keynote address centered on “Building a Community of Shared Future in Cyberspace”, shedding light on the predominant challenge of managing digital and cyberspaces. He proposed innovative solutions, emphasizing collaborative network governance. His talk also included insights from blockchain technology and hyperbolic geometry research, such as applying Lobachevskian geometry to streamline cyberspace.

George Malliaras, the Prince Philip Professor of Technology at the University of Cambridge

Professor Malliaras drew from personal experiences in his address themed “Perspectives on International Multidisciplinary Graduate Education.” He delved into the realm of global interdisciplinary education and examined diverse graduate training models across top U.S. universities. He emphasized the importance of nurturing students with a robust professional base and fostering interdisciplinary learning during graduate studies. Moreover, he underscored how practical experience and soft skills play a pivotal role in developing students into well-rounded individuals.

Dr. Kan Huang, President of the Beijing Education Association for International Exchange

During his talk titled “Internationalized Innovation Talent Development and the Responsibility of Universities,” Dr. Huang explored the importance of nurturing global innovation talent from a governmental standpoint. He highlighted the crucial role that universities should undertake in this endeavor, shedding light on China's higher education institutions' practical approaches to international innovation talent cultivation. Dr. Huang also underlined the evolving nature of talent development as a shared societal responsibility, calling for active participation from both businesses and government bodies.

Professor Edward Mullen, Willma and Albert Musher Professor Emeritus at Columbia University

Professor Mullen's discussion centered on social sciences, highlighting research methods' role in decision-making, understanding complex societal aspects, amplifying diverse voices, and driving change. He stressed the need for structured frameworks in social science research to navigate human behavior intricacies. In his remarks, Professor Mullen also encouraged Chinese students to engage in social science research, nurturing sociological imagination and skills that reflect today and shape tomorrow.

Mr. Zhijia Wang, Expert of the International Competence Development Committee and Former Director of the International Department of State Environmental Protection Administration of China

Mr. Wang delivered a speech on “International Competence Cultivation and the Requirements of International Organizations for Interdisciplinary Innovation Talents.” He emphasized how interdisciplinary innovative talents play a crucial role in addressing global challenges, highlighting the significance of the cultivation of globally adept individuals with diverse skills and versatile abilities.

From left to right, the individuals in the photo are: Professor Sophia Koutsogiannaki, Assistant Professor; Professor David Johnson, Professorial Fellow in St Antony’s College at the University of Oxford; Professor Slav Hermanowicz, Professor of the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley; Professor Gregory Kesden, Associate Teaching Professor and MS ECE Faculty Advisor at Carnegie Mellon University; and Professor Joshua Edel, Professor of Biosensing and Analytical Sciences at Imperial College London.

The forum continued with three roundtable discussions. The first roundtable, themed “New Trends for Talent Development in the Post-Pandemic World,” was skillfully moderated by Dr. Yukteshwar Kumar, Ex-Deputy Mayor of Bath and Senior Lecturer at the University of Bath. This engaging conversation featured esteemed participants from the GEC Teaching Faculty, who collectively explored emerging trends and future prospects in top-tier university talent development within the post-pandemic landscape. The discourse delved into the pivotal role of soft skills in talent cultivation, the integration of creativity and lifelong learning opportunities in education, and the transformative influence of technology on teaching. Building on the innovative role of GEC Academy in talent development, the participants also examined strategies to seamlessly incorporate modern technology into education, fostering teaching innovation and facilitating international collaboration.


In the subsequent two panels, participants shifted their focus to the significance of interdisciplinary approaches from the vantage points of higher education and foundational learning. They emphasized how interdisciplinary approaches stimulate novel ideas and facilitate breakthroughs. Furthermore, the panels explored methods to nurture adaptable talents, empowering students to navigate future challenges within interdisciplinary and cross-cultural contexts. Additionally, the discussions encompassed international collaboration in cultivating innovative talents and advancing foundational education at the secondary school level.


The forum concluded with a closing address by Mr. Jianrong Yang, Director of Shanghai Advisory Committee on Technological Innovation Education. He underscored how, in our current era of globalization, educational exchanges function as vital connectors that bind the world together while nurturing friendship and cooperation between nations. Highlighting the essence of interdisciplinary collaboration involving two or more fields, he emphasized the need for robust communication and cooperation among scholars from diverse disciplines and regions.


This forum, hosted by GEC, stood as an expansive platform that united educators from around the world. Together with the esteemed members of GEC teaching faculty, we will continue to make efforts in fostering vibrant discussions and collectively exploring cutting-edge ideas and practices in interdisciplinary innovation talent development.

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