On 30 December 2017, the SCO-China Centre for Youth Exchanges opened in Kunming University.
Speaking at the opening ceremony in Kunming, SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov said: "The importance of this event goes far beyond the city of Kunming, the Yunnan Province or even China. There is no doubt that the experience accumulated by the centre will soon spread across the vast SCO space, paving the way for new platforms to make better use of youth talent and energy."
Mr Alimov went on to say that more than 3 billion people lived across the SCO space, and youth accounted for a fifth of this population. Young people make a significant contribution to strengthening friendship and cooperation among the peoples of SCO member states, promoting socioeconomic cooperation and cultural dialogue. The leaders of the SCO member states pay great attention to the needs of the young people.
"We face many challenges and threats in today's world, including terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking. It is essential that these young people learn to counter these negative phenomena, so that they contribute to building a world that will be more just and a safer place to live. The SCO-China Centre for Youth Exchanges offers a wonderful platform for promoting proactive dialogue and mutual understanding among generations, cultures and religions. It is important that the centre promotes debates on the most urgent issues in the Shanghai Spirit in order to come up with ideas and proposals designed to resolve complex and important issues that stand in the way of development," Mr Alimov pointed out.
The SCO Secretary-General praised the youth for their unwavering commitment to change the world for the better. "The SCO Strategy until 2025 and its programmes and projects could serve as a blueprint for making any dream or the boldest plans for a better future come true," Mr Alimov said.
Taking part in the opening ceremony were Deputy Governor of Yunnan Province Gao Feng, Director-General of the Department of European-Central Asian Affairs at the Chinese Foreign Ministry Sun Linjiang, Director of the Foreign Affairs Office at Yunnan Provincial Government Li Jiming, ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary, as well as high-ranking members of the diplomatic corps from SCO Family countries, leaders and students from Kunming University, members of the SCO Secretariat and representatives of Chinese and foreign media.
The opening of the SCO-China Centre for Youth Exchanges within Kunming University was a joint initiative of the Kunming city hall and the government of Yunnan Province.
China is acting as the rotating SCO chair from June 2017 until June 2018.
Established in 2004, Kunming University is one of China's leading education institutions offering 11 degree programmes. It includes 21 departments and more than 18,000 students, and has signed cooperation agreements with more than 60 universities from 20 countries. Foreign students from a number of countries, including Korea, Laos, Nepal and Bangladesh, are currently enrolled in the university.