On 31 August 2018, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Secretary-General Rashid Alimov held a meeting titled "Knowledge as a Way to Success" with active members of the SCO Youth League at the SCO Headquarters in Beijing. The meeting was attended by students from SCO member states, studying in Beijing.
"As many as 650 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 live across the SCO space, and 93 percent of them have received education. They all have their own dreams and aspirations, and together they have the enormous potential to make life better in their countries as well as across the vast Eurasian region and globally," the SCO Secretary-General pointed out in his opening remarks. "Leaders of SCO member states value and support youth creativity, as well as their desire to engage in large-scale projects related to cooperation on social, economic, cultural and humanitarian matters," Mr Alimov said.
The Secretary-General went on to say that in its youth policy the SCO seeks to promote proactive engagement by young people in building a future they deserve, as well as facilitating their physical, intellectual and spiritual development and helping them contribute to political, economic and cultural development in the SCO countries. What this means is that the SCO seeks to promote joint development across the vast space between three oceans. This is what the Joint Appeal to the Youth, adopted by the SCO heads of state at the Qingdao Summit, is all about.
"Leaders of the eight Shanghai countries view the younger generation as a reliable foundation. They believe in young people seeking to master the latest advances, eager to learn science and technology, art and literature, who have a sense of legal culture and are resistant to extremism and fundamentalism," Mr Alimov noted, adding that "unconventional threats, violent extremism, economic turmoil and social issues only aggravate the challenges young people face."
Mr Alimov noted with satisfaction that young people in their vast majority know how to respond to these challenges and threats. They are inspired by leaders who are focused on pursuing their dreams and are able and ready to promote positive change. Courageous Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate from Pakistan, as well government officials and parliamentarians, researchers and engineers, successful entrepreneurs, cultural figures and athletes all serve as a source of inspiration for the SCO youth. Their names are well known in the SCO countries and far beyond the Eurasian continent. These role models have proven by their knowledge and hard work that they have the power to overcome national and global challenges.
Working with and for young people is one of the priorities for the SCO and its Youth Council, the Secretary-General said. "We opened the SCO's doors to the younger generation, and support the good will and proactive attitude, talent and idealism of the Youth League within the SCO Secretariat, and its members. We want to witness the emergence of a new breed of leaders for the 21st century, since we view people who are now young as the driving force of the Shanghai Spirit. It is essential that we show compassion, engage in mutually respectful dialogue, and respect the diversity of cultures and religions in the increasingly interconnected world. We are committed to continuing the dialogue with youth organisations and helping them to listen to each other and hear each other, and to master the art of debating," Mr Alimov went on to say.
He wished the participants every success in achieving their ambitious plans. "Just like all young people today, you live in a world of new technology and like no other generation have the ability to access large volumes of information. Some of you already live in smart homes and smart cities instead of reading about them in futuristic fiction books. As a forward-looking young generation of smart and creative people guided by noble ideals, you have the potential to build a smart planet where people live in peace and enjoy stable security, where the needs of every country are taken into consideration and all are guided by the norms and principles of international law," the Secretary-General said.
SCO Youth League Chair Victoria Khu said: "The Qingdao Summit (9-10 June 2018) and the Joint Appeal of the SCO heads of state to the youth definitely create new opportunities for us. We have set an objective and were very enthusiastic about the creation of a platform for young leaders from across the SCO region in order to contribute to delivering on this objective."
Beketai Artykbayev, a Youth League member from Kyrgyzstan who attends the China University of Mining and Technology, said: "What matters for me the most in the Joint Appeal to the Youth is that it includes a paragraph reaffirming the unfading importance of spirituality, education and upbringing of youth in the spirit of honouring such immutable values as patriotism, high morality, tolerance, humanity and mutual respect. I strongly believe that many people from the SCO member countries share these values, including from my country, Kyrgyzstan, which currently chairs the organisation."
In her remarks at the meeting, CEO of Dongfang Lihua investment company, Ms Gao Zi thanked Secretary-General Rashid Alimov for providing the opportunity to take part in the meeting with young people. She presented a project to provide managerial and technical support for cultural and humanitarian events at Jing Yuewan leisure and tourism site in Dongfang, Hainan province. Ms Zi noted that the company-presented project covering 3,600 hectares not only boasts a wonderful landscape but also a diverse themed infrastructure. In conclusion, she noted that the project was expected to promote initiatives by the SCO heads of state with the view to facilitating cultural exchanges among the SCO youth.
The meeting was followed by the signing of a cooperation agreement between the SCO Secretariat and Dongfang Lihua investment company.
China's Permanent Representative at the SCO Ms Li Jun, CEO of Dongfang Lihua investment company Ms Gao Zi, and members of the SCO Secretariat's Youth League attended the event.
The SCO Secretariat regularly holds events for the youth, being aware of the central role of the youth for the SCO. Events of this kind are intended to raise awareness about the need to nurture integral and harmonious personalities and strengthen the intellectual potential of the young people across the SCO space.