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Forum's young volunteers ready to represent 'prospering China'

By ZHAO XINYING | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-13 06:19

Forum's young volunteers ready to represent 'prospering China'

Volunteers help a journalist at the media center for the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. The media center opened on May 12, 2017, in Beijing. [Photo by ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY]

Zhang Weiguo just finished several weeks of intensive training, preparing for only a few days of giving high-quality service.

Zhang, who is pursuing a master's degree at the University of International Business and Economics, started working on Thursday as a volunteer for the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on Sunday and Monday.

Wearing a black suit with such Chinese elements as a traditional Zhongshan collar and red buttons on the suit sleeves and on the white shirt inside, the 23-year-old, standing in the lobby of Beijing International Hotel, wears a constant smile and is ever ready to offer help.

Zhang, who is responsible for answering inquiries from guests, is one of about 2,500 volunteers who will provide services to delegates from home and abroad.

They are all students from 28 universities in the capital, including UIBE, Peking University, Tsinghua University and Beijing Normal University.

In February, the Beijing Committee of the Communist Youth League issued a notice to recruit volunteers from among the city's college students. Among the conditions were that applicants must be juniors or above who will be dedicated to working for the forum, and they must be proficient in a foreign language and have previous volunteer experience.

Some universities raised the threshold. UIBE, for example, required that candidates must have passed the College English Test Band 6, a senior-level English test for non-English majors.

All the selected volunteers went through several rounds of training, including lectures about the forum and Belt and Road Initiative countries, as well as instruction on etiquette and first-aid skills.

Jiang Qingzhe, Party chief of UIBE, from which 99 volunteers were chosen, said he's very proud of the young students. "They are representatives of excellent young Chinese and prospering China," he said.

To become quickly acquainted with their work, the volunteers created scenarios such as airport pickups, conference registration and route guidance to practice how to serve guests from abroad.

Teng Hewen, a volunteer who is studying diplomacy and pursuing a master's degree at UIBE, said she was impressed by details of the training that emphasized paying special attention to guests, for example by always smiling, walking to the left of the guests to show respect, and extending a hand above a car door as guests exit a vehicle to make sure they don't hit their head.

"Through such voluntary work, I hope I can make a small contribution to China's diplomacy," she said.

Xu Jinxi, a volunteer from Beijing Normal University, worked for five hours nonstop on Friday.

"It's tiring but worthwhile," said Xu, who is responsible for delivering documents and materials. "The delivery is fundamental and crucial, since it affects every single event of the forum, which makes me feel my work is meaningful."

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