BEIJING, 19 January (BelTA - China Daily) - Participants in a youth dialogue on Tuesday highlighted the significant role young people play in promoting friendship and solidarity in the face of global challenges, adding that the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games will provide a good opportunity for young athletes to deepen exchanges.
Officials, athletes and experts from Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states and Eurasian countries participated, both online and offline, in the China-SCO-Eurasia Youth Leaders Dialogue. It had as its theme, "Together for a Shared Future", which is also the theme of the Beijing Winter Games.
The event was jointly hosted by the Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Commission of the SCO and China Daily.
In an online speech to the event, Vice-Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said that at a time when COVID-19 continues globally, and many significant changes unseen in a century are evolving fast, regional countries have chosen to boost solidarity and cooperation in order to address risks and challenges.
Referring to young people as "the leaders and creators of the future", Le encouraged them to devote themselves to the great cause of national development and regional prosperity and to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to work toward social development.
Zhang Ming, secretary-general of the SCO, said via video link that young people are the future of the SCO region and the driving force behind its development and progress. The organization is fully aware of the importance of youth cooperation and has carried out a large number of youth-oriented programs, Zhang added.
Facing significant changes, he urged young people to be open-minded and inclusive, raise awareness of mutual assistance and cooperation, and make contributions to promoting friendship and unity among people of all countries.
"As an important international organization in the region, the SCO will continue to provide a broader global arena for the growth of and exchanges between young people," Zhang said.
Cui Li, vice-president of the Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Commission of the SCO, said there are 800 million young people in SCO member states.
"In recent years, we have actively promoted youth exchanges and cooperation, and helped young people make innovations and start businesses," she said, adding that young people are positive, united and cooperative.
Zhou Shuchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and publisher and editor-in-chief of China Daily, said young people are "the most active and exuberant group in human society".
"They not only bear the hopes of their countries and people, but also shoulder the fate and future of all humanity," Zhou said.
Tuesday's event was held less than three weeks before the start of the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, which will bring together athletes from different countries. Zhou said the dialogue was held at a crucial moment for youths from SCO member states and Eurasian countries to rally around the Games' theme of "Together for a Shared Future", learn from each other's cultures, and strengthen people-to-people bonds.
Batir Tursunov, charge d' affaires of the Embassy of Uzbekistan in China, said that in an era of rapid development in science and technology, every country attaches great importance to developing young people's talents.
"Young people are expected to find solutions for issues so as to promote social progress and human development," he said.
Alina Alexandrovna Gornosko, a Belarusian athlete, said via video link that all Olympic Games have proved the importance of unity, cooperation and mutual understanding and so the Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games will as well.
In the face of global challenges it is important to preserve the principles of friendliness, mutual understanding and mutual respect. Olympic athletes have always been role models for the younger generation by displaying these principles during competitions, she said.
Ghanema Bader Al-Darwish, an official with Qatar's Ministry of Sports and Youth, said that despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, sports remain a powerful way to bring joy to people's lives. "It is imperative that we all work together so that the international community realizes the power of sports," she said.