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WEST LAKE DIALOGUE: inheritance, emerging, and future. - More open, more international



On November 13, the key event of the 2023 Hangzhou International Human Resources Exchange and Cooperation Conference, the "West Lake Dialogue," kicked off at the Zhejiang Library in the Zhijiang Cultural Center.

Gao Shiming, President of China Academy of Art, Xu Tianjin, President of Liangzhu Museum, David Chaplin, General manager of bio-innovation Centre Cambridge science park, and 13 other experts and scholars took the stage for a dialogue. 260 experts, representatives from leading industries, and representatives of universities from China and abroad participated in the discussion on the theme "Inheritance, Emerging, Future - Dialogue on Modern Urban Civilization" to explore the direction of urban civilization's progress.

The 1st dialogue: INHERITANCE

Paolo Vincenzo Genovese, a professor at the School of Architecture and Engineering at Zhejiang University, talked about his unforgettable experience of seeing West Lake for the first time, which he described as a natural landscape painting. As an architect, Paolo Vincenzo Genovese was deeply attracted to the city of Hangzhou for its unique blend of classical and modern elements.

Xu Tianjin, the director of the Liangzhu Museum, believes that cultural heritage should not only be well preserved but also shared. "Today, I brought a small book called 'The World of Liangliang, the Ancient City' specifically made in Braille for visually impaired children. Last year, we also organized an exhibition for blind children called 'The Refraction of the Light of Civilization'." Xu Tianjin's words added a touch of warmth to the conversation, allowing marginalized groups to have the opportunity to touch the cultural heritage. This is the true significance of the light of civilization.

According to Gao Shiming, the president of China Academy of Art, since 1995, they have trained 50,000 art professionals, a significant portion of whom have stayed in Hangzhou and are gradually transforming the city's environment, lifestyle, and the daily taste of its people through various means.

Michael Harrold, Senior Editor and Consultant at CGTN, believes that Hangzhou's history, ancient poetry, and famous figures are charming and were showcased during the opening and closing ceremonies of the Hangzhou Asian Games. The current challenge is how Hangzhou will develop further and excel in international communications to continue to attract global attention after the Asian Games.

The second dialogue: EMERGING

Six experts and scholars from various fields participated in the discussion, aiming to stimulate ideas for the diversified development of Hangzhou's future industrial economy and urban transformation.

According to data from McKinsey, the economic value of synthetic biology and biomanufacturing will reach 100 billion of dollars by 2025. During the meeting, Zeng Anping also discussed the limitless potential of synthetic biology in the future. Currently, the global layout in this field is thriving, so where does China's competitive advantage come from? Zeng Anping's answer is basic research. "From the starting point of original innovation in the laboratory, to concept verification, engineering, and industrialization, every link in between is crucial," Zeng Anping said.

When it comes to basic research, universities and laboratories cannot be ignored. David Chaplin, General manager of bio-innovation Centre Cambridge science park, brought the story of Cambridge Science Park to the audience. It is located in Cambridge shire, southeast England, and is recognized as one of the world's most important technology centers. " Cambridge and Hangzhou have many similarities. They are both gathering places for universities and encourage people to start businesses outside of campus." David Chaplin specifically mentioned that Cambridge and Hangzhou have a common feature, which is the emphasis on technological innovation and the continuous retention of talented individuals with entrepreneurial spirit in the city, which is the most valuable asset. "I am optimistic about Hangzhou. It not only retains people, but also creates a good environment for talent development. This will make Hangzhou more and more competitive and become a world-class international city."

The third dialogue: FUTURE

According to Xu Tian, a professor and vice president of West Lake University who has taught at Yale for many years and interacted with young people from all over the world, the Chinese youth are a group of people who are eager to learn and work hard.

The emergence of the ChatGPT program has sparked a new wave of AI development and also changed the way knowledge is disseminated in universities. According to Xu Tian, ChatGPT has weakened the role of universities in knowledge dissemination. As a result, Xi Hu University is trying a new training model that encourages lifelong learning and fosters innovation among young people.

"Our young people must be prepared to become partners with machines, allowing humans to remain the dominant force while machines serve as collaborators," said Jeffrey S. Lehman, former president of Cornell University and executive vice president of Shanghai New York University, when discussing education in the age of artificial intelligence. He expects young people to possess qualities such as creativity, innovation, cultural sensitivity, and critical thinking.

Talents are very importance for the development and future of a city, particularly in facilitating cross-cultural communication and fostering innovative practices. Although the "West Lake Dialogue" of 2023 has concluded, its enduring influence and inspiration continue to make a significant impact.

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