【GYLD Talk】Halldor Berg: Work together to tackle with global challenges
On July 30, the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) and the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies hosted the 2021 annual forum of the Global Young Leaders Dialogue (GYLD) in Beijing. Around 140 young representatives from various walks of life participated in the forum, exchanging views on topics such as sustainable development, public health, the joint fight against the pandemic, scientific innovation, and an open world economy. Participants also shared stories of their experiences in China and exchanged views on the strengths and responsibilities of young people regarding issues such as climate change and environmental protection.
Halldor Berg, Senior Country Representative of EURAXESS China, delivered a speech at the GYLD Talk during the forum. The following is an abridged transcript of the speech, which has been edited for clarity.
My name is Halldor Berg, the Country Representative of EURAXESS in China. It is, like you said, an initiative of the European Commission, the Director General of Research and Innovation. And what we do is that we try to connect researchers inside of Europe with each other, but also connect them with the world.
Last December, we were holding a networking event in Shanghai. They were engaged in deep conversation. You could see the sparks flying and at one point, they stand up, and they walk away across the corner, and I think everybody in the group was thinking more love is in the air. There’s just something magical happens at that site when scientists come together. Ideas started flying, and you can just feel that the world starts moving. That is something that we need today right. With the challenges that we are facing, we just cannot afford to stand still. Today’s problems are so much bigger than that we used to face. We are talking about challenges that are global in nature. They are complicated and they are multi-sited. They’re just such problems that we cannot afford to ignore them. We need to make sure that we are using all our resources, all our insights, and all our best strings everywhere in the world to coordinate our response to this. In European Union when it comes to research and innovation, we are committed to work with the world when it comes to tackling global challenges, and we want to make sure we put our best people on the job.
I know that in China that is also the case. That’s that is why we need young scientists and researchers. We need the smartest people in the world, and we need to make sure that they are innovative. We need to make sure that they are brave and able to come up with new ideas and not be bogged down by old paradigms and so on.
And then we need to make sure that we support them, giving them the money and the instruments in the policy that they need to be able to do what they need to do, and we need people that can cooperate. So, no matter what you know like no matter how much funding with give these people, no matter how many billions of euros, we commit to something like this. No matter how good a plan we have, in the end, we always need people to do it. So, I need to make sure that we connect with people also when it comes to international collaboration, which is very essential. It doesn’t really matter how many MOUs we sign or how many hands we shake – we need to make sure that these people that are doing this know each other and they are able to work with each other.
The above is my mission. This is what I and my team at EURAXESS has been doing. We’ve been building this network now for 11 years. Already, we have more than 6000 researchers in it. We have, like 2 main groups here in China that we work with. Obviously, we work with the Chinese researchers here that are interested in working with Europe. But we also work with the Europeans that are coming here to China and what we do is that we help them to connect with each other. We also help them to connect with the instruments that they need. Most importantly, we want to make sure that they can work together.
By using an analogy from physical science – nuclear physics – when you put atoms in a specific way, what happens is that you will have this cascade that will release all this energy. We’re talking about like a nuclear bomb, almost and I believe this is like what happens when you put together people, scientists in the same room in this way. And that is what we’re trying to do – put together people there would not have been meeting otherwise. Thank you very much.
Note: The above text is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. It is posted as a reference for the discussion.