It is imperative for the world to strengthen mutual understanding, act in unity and work together in a collective response to fight COVID-19, speakers at the latest edition of Vision China said.
The event, "Young Voices: Shared Future & Better Tomorrow", was broadcast online to a global audience on Thursday evening.
Six students from China, Russia and the United States shared their stories about the pandemic, stressing that courage, care, communication, equality and unity are needed to fight the global battle against COVID-19.
President Xi Jinping has on many occasions called for global solidarity and cooperation to battle the pandemic. The six speakers shared their own stories and reflections on worldwide cooperation and collaboration to fight COVID-19 and build a community with a shared future for mankind.
Max Horne, a first-year student at Harvard, said China is his second home as he has studied Chinese since the age of 12, and paid numerous visits to the country.
When Wuhan was first hit by the outbreak, Horne filmed videos showing his support for those fighting on the front line against the virus. He said he wanted to show that the people of the United States wish to deepen engagement with China through people-to-people exchanges and through globalism.
"The need for close communication, collaboration and coordination between the world's nations is more important than ever," he said, calling for innovative, unorthodox channels to promote much-needed cross-cultural exchanges.
Alisa Topchiy, a student at Saint-Petersburg State University in Russia, said: "I believe that the coronavirus is above politics. And cooperation will be the only way to destroy the virus."
She said the good news for her is that China and Russia have not only offered each other, but also the world, a helping hand to cope with the pandemic. China had provided assistance to more than 120 countries amid the COVID-19 outbreak by the end of March.
Xue Feiyang, a student at the London School of Economics and Political Science, helped launch the "Chinese against racist virus" campaign by organizing a workshop and giving speeches in London.
She also shot documentaries about the Chinese people living abroad and the efforts they have made in fighting the virus together with students from different British universities. "We have every reason to hope that the world will become a safer place in which people are treated equally, as humans and not a virus," she said.
Zhu Jiayi, a first-year master's student at the University of Southern California, flew back to China in late March, partly because of xenophobia and an undercurrent of racism targeting Chinese students and Asian-Americans.
On her way back she recalled that customs officials and social workers who helped her with quarantine all gave her a warm welcome.
Zhu said doctors, nurses, construction workers, and many more, who chose to risk their lives fighting COVID-19, have been making those difficult decisions and doing things for the greater good rather than just themselves.
"Only in solidarity will we, as human society, have a chance to win this fight against COVID-19," she said.
Wang Ziyi, a fifth-grader at Shanghai Starriver Bilingual School, is rightly proud that seven of his family members became volunteers during the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei province.
"My family is only one of the numerous families in Wuhan, who are doing their bit to pull the city together," he said. "Every ordinary person can be a hero."
"Without Wuhan's sacrifice and joint efforts from people from all walks of life, we wouldn't have done what we have achieved so far," he said.
Xiong Ziqing, a 21-year-old exchange student in Monterey, in the US, said that social distancing reminds him of the value of sharing, caring and communicating with others.
"The pandemic cannot sweep away friendship, goodwill and exchanges of ideas and knowledge," Xiong said. He added that the rapid rise in the use of video conference and social media have shown people's willingness to sympathize, communicate and work together regardless of distance.
Launched in January 2018 by China Daily, Vision China has been featuring global opinion leaders invited to discuss Chinese topics of international significance.
Thursday's event, the 11th edition, was a special one focusing on voices of the youths.
It was organized by China Daily in cooperation with Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University and the Canadian International School of Beijing.