“Nervous! Nervous!” “Can I wear like this tomorrow?” “I am worried my English is not good.” “I checked AIBO’s website for the speech...” At 6am local time on April 14, in the city of Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico, half a planet away from China, Mr. Julio Hernandez, Professor at the College of Scientific and Technological Studies, was communicating online with the AIBO team to confirm the arrangements of the opening ceremony next day.
Mr. Julio and his families
This happened during the VooVMeeting platform test prior to the Seminar on Promoting Machinery and Electronic Industry and Economic Development for Developing Countries held by Academy for International Business Officials (AIBO). This seminar, held from April 15 to 28, attracts 23 participants from Egypt, Ghana, Iraq, Malaysia, Mexico, Sri Lanka and Venezuela gathering online to feel the brilliance of China.
Group photo at the opening ceremony
With a 13-hour time difference, the online test took place at 6am in Mexico. Julio on the screen was slightly tired and laughed that he might need a cup of black coffee to wake up every day during the seminar. Hard to hide his joy and pride, Julio smiled, "This is my first international seminar, and I am very honored to address the opening ceremony. I represent not only myself, but all the participants. Joyful and excited!"
Mr. Julio specially put AIBO logo behind him at the opening ceremony.
“I participate with questions!”
Julio told us that his hometown Orizaba in the State of Veracruz is a very cordial city where Chinese people and signs in Chinese can be seen everywhere, full of distinctive Chinese vitality. In Julio’s eyes, Chinese people are friendly and kind. Especially during the pandemic, the Chinese government has provided a great deal of assistance to Mexico, and Mexico has learned a lot of advanced pandemic prevention experience from China.
In local markets, with everything from TVs and computers to clothing and footwear, “Made in China” provides convenience to people's lives. Fond of "Made in China", Julio was quite frank, “Cannot live without it.” He constantly ponders: Why China? Why always China?
With such doubts and curiosity, Julio came to the seminar. He recalled that when knowing about a seminar by China, he immediately expressed strong desire: "Me! Me! Me! I'll go! Knowing so little about China and longing to explore so much, why not? For China, I always say Yes."
“The seminar left a very beautiful memory in my heart!”
Over the 14-day seminar, wandering from brilliantly coloured Chinese culture to ever-changing modern development, from robust e-commerce and rising commercial airplanes to the splendid ancient Palace Museum, Julio kept feeling China to look for answers.
Mr. Julio concentrated on lectures.
As a professor , Julio was fully aware of the relationship between teaching and learning. He believed, "I grow up with my students when teaching. Similarly, China makes progress together with the world while sharing experience.“ China shares its development fruits and opportunities with the world, and enjoys progress and prosperity with the world in return.
In my impression, few countries are able to share their development experience with other countries as equally and peacefully as China does. What is remarkable is that China does it regardless of country size, color and race. That is pretty admirable." The seminar really touches the bottom of Julio's heart.
With two weeks of exploration, Julio firmly believed that ancient culture, hard-working Chinese people, strong central government, and effective national governance are the key to a great China. “Against the backdrop of complex international public opinions, this seminar reiterates China’s position and demonstrates China’s attitude.” Through the seminar, we tell China stories and shares “China’s governance” with the world, bringing strength and confidence for the common development of all countries, and conveying hope and warmth to the world.
AIBO team encourages Latin American participants overcoming time differences; Participants speak positively of the seminar.
Julio was never stingy with his praise for the AIBO team. Speaking of the assistants with whom he was closely connected, he was pretty complimentary. “They were with us on time for all sessions. I witnessed the elegant demeanour of Chinese youth, who are good representatives of the great Chinese people and excellent models of China’s higher education. The 14 occupied and fulfilling days left a very beautiful memory in my heart.”
“My students have infinite curiosity and expectations on China.”
Julio’s experience also brought China’s seminars to the students at the College of Scientific and Technological Studies who seemed even more excited and were desperate for Julio’s sharing of the details in the past 14 days.
Mr. Julio and his students
Julio readily agreed. On the sharing day, he guided the students to follow him with carefully prepared pictures, unveiling the warm 14-day journey through space and time. From local customs to social conditions, from history and culture to national development, his experience created resonance with the students.
Mr. Julio shares his China experience with students.
To fulfill the students’ expectations, Julio specially brought the seminar certificate to the class. “I want to share the ‘secret’ of China’s success with my students to let them know what exactly makes China so great!” Meanwhile, by inviting the seminar assistants to film surprise videos for his students to share their own experiences and “cloud” exchange the university lives of the two countries, Julio succeeded in creating opportunities for his students to talk to Chinese youth and to perceive China at closer range. “I’d like to encourage my students to go out of the country and enhance the friendship and mutual understanding between the youth of China and Mexico.”
Students watching surprise videos
Julio told us that he would continue his “China bond” in August by holding a special online exchange to show his students the charm of Chinese culture.
Mr. Julio will continue his “Chinese bond” in August.
Julio admitted that the knowledge of his students on China was neither objective nor comprehensive. Now he has presented a positive image of China in a “rain-nourishing-soil” way, and also sown the seeds of a “Chinese dream” in the hearts of the young generation in Mexico.
Julio is now back in class and talks more about China. Some would say “Ni hao” to Julio, and then they smiled at each other; Some would ask, “China is so far away, and Chinese is so hard. Will you really go there?” Julio replied with pride, “I have friends in China, in AIBO. They speak good English. One day I will go there and meet my Chinese friends.” The sincere and honest words of the students expressed their understanding and expectations about China. Hopefully, in the near future they will be among the messengers of friendship between China and Mexico.
Warm lines from Mr. Julio
Reluctant to say goodbye to the two-week online journey, Julio said, “I don’t care about the time difference and the seminar language. Please remember to invite me for the next one!” He also learned how to say goodbye in Chinese. At the closing ceremony, Julio drew a successful conclusion to his China tour with an emotional “goodbye” half a planet away.
Mr. Julio emotionally farewelled the seminar.
The seminar has come to an end, but the influence endures. Surprises keep coming. Julio continues to share moments of the seminar on social media to observe and record China from a unique perspective, acting as a bridge connecting China and Mexico. He said, "I want more people to know about AIBO and a real China through my experience."
Mr. Julio posted the seminar experience on social media.
The daily work of the AIBO people features vivid chapters of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, and also touching stories of interaction with pro-China seminar participants. These stories are closely related to the development of China and the world. Mr. Julio in this article is just a microcosm of China’s foreign aid, whose stories dramatically convey the joy and expectations brought by AIBO seminars to participants. Each of our routine opening and closing ceremony is the very first for expectant participants. Moving forward, we will show the brilliance of China to the world with the greatest passion, the most considerate service and a perfect posture. For China stories, it is our genuine sharing and telling that eventually brings the participants’ heartfelt embracing and spreading. Taking part in China-aid training programs, we take it as supreme pride to serve as a bridge connecting China and the world, to witness China’s development and to contribute our due part to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
To conclude, our special thanks must go to the three lovely assistants — Ms. FENG Sunmeng from the Renmin University of China, Ms. YANG Xin from the University of International Business and Economics, and Mr. MIAO Guangshen from the Beijing Forestry University — for all the passionate energy you had poured throughout the time. The success of the seminar cannot be achieved without anyone of you.