First Global Alumni Summit of ECNU takes place in Washington DC, USA


Oct. 5-7, the First Global Alumni Summit of ECNU was held in Bethesda, a trendy and affluent suburb northwest of WashingtonD.C., the United States. More than 180 international alumni attended the summit to relive their university experiences at ECNU.

Most of ECNU's high-level leaders delivered speeches to the alumni, such as Tong Shijun, ECNU'S University Council chairman and director of the Intramural Affairs Committee; Zhong Yi Tong, president of East China Normal University Alumni Association in America (ECNUAAA) who works as a Senior Financial Economist at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, U.S. Department of the Treasury; Xu Hongqiang, director of the International Investment Studies of the Development Research Center of the State Council; and Wang Tao, professionally known as Taoray Wang, a world-famous fashion designer favored by U.S. Donald Trump's youngest daughter Tiffany Trump for her public appearances.

Tong's opening speech officially raised the curtain on the second day of the summit, which was themed Paying back to the alma mater out of love and creating a better hand-in-hand cooperation for the future. The speech, focusing on ECNU's aspiration to become a world-class university in a new era of higher education reform, turned out to be the highlight of the four-day meeting.

Tong also mentioned ECNU's internationalized educational philosophy that bands together with national patriotism, which will continue to shape the talents of its students  while guaranteeing sufficient scientific output as a leading research university in China.

In the new era, it is essential for our university to aid in the transformation of China to become a powerful country in higher education. By providing exceptional education that meets the demands of people in China, it can even reach people all over the world, he said.

Zhong Yi Tong was the director of the summit. He claimed it had exceeded everyone's expectations in terms of the money, time and energy input by those alumni participants. 

He remarked that the summit has not only provided a platform for exchanges of experiences and resources among the participants, but an opportunity for them to give back to the alma mater. By holding the summit, we have built a two-way platform to facilitate the conversation between us and our alma mater, Tong said. Otherwise, we would be in the dark about what help ECNU needs to develop while it would neglect what we have to offer.

Many of the ECNU alumni in attendance became elites in the health care system of the United States. They shared stories about their time as students at ECNU, acknowledging that ECNU's educational philosophy and way of implementing higher education directly contributed to the progress they have made so far in their life and careers. For instance, Chen Jiande, a professor with the medical school of the notable JohnsHopkins University in Washington DC, discussed ECNU's priority of cultivating its students. The most important thing that ECNU taught me was how to be a teacher. Although I specialize in medical research, I'm also dedicated to teaching. My lab has trained over 100 doctoral and postdoctoral students, and medical specialists. Most of them sail from China. It is something I should do as a graduate of a normal university.

Taoray Wang is an acclaimed fashion designer who founded her own clothing brand Taoray Wang and is now General Manager and Creative Director of the Shanghai Gongyun Fashion Co. Ltd. She brought to light some suggestions on ECNU's brand building, noting that: You need to be of great quality to be trusted by others. When the trust escalates into a belief, you then can form a reliable brand. To build trust with your clientele requires unremitting efforts by generations. So in order to help ECNU achieve its goal in becoming a world-class university, we feel obligated to pass down the trust that ECNU has earned from generation to generation of alumni.

Tong Shijun highlighted that the year 2021 will mark the 70th anniversary of ECNU, at the same time when the Communist Party of China will reach the centenary of its founding of the PRC - this will signify to China and the rest of the world its accomplishments in becoming a moderately developed society in all aspects.

Towards the end of the summit, Tong discussed the important role of ECNU alumni, teachers and students who will shoulder the responsibilities to carry on the longstanding tradition of the university. Its mission is twofold: improve the strength of normal education in China and build the country into a powerhouse of higher education.

Edited by Siyuan Zhang    Proofread by Joshua Mayfield    Reviewed by Wenjun Guo


East China Normal University