By Wang Fengjuan
Long after the lights have gone out in dormitories of Peking University, it’s not uncommon to find Wang Yipeng still at her desk sending pictures to journalists to cover the 11th China-ASEAN Youth Camp and 4th China-ASEAN Youth Summit. As the event approaches, it has become normal for her to stay up late.
“During preparations, my colleagues in the organizing committee are all very busy because we want to make sure that everything is ready for the summit,” Wang grins in the autumn sunshine. “My job is media relations for the event.” A student in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, School of Foreign Languages at Peking University, Wang has never previously participated in a China-ASEAN Youth Summit, and her studies are far from journalism or communication. However, Wang has handled the intimidating job as director of public relations well so far. Knowing that her performance exerts a direct influence on the process and public image of the summit, she pursues excellence in every detail of her work.
Thanks to her studies in the Department of Southeast Asian studies, Wang speaks the Myanmar language and is familiar with ASEAN. She hopes to facilitate communications between China and ASEAN. In 2018, for the first time, students from colleges and universities of China, Japan and South Korea were invited to attend the Youth Model ASEAN Conference in Singapore. “The model conference was a precious opportunity for communication,” maintains Wang. “Such occasions enableus to understand more about the coordination mechanism serving ASEAN countries while at the same time shining light on how member countries respect each other’s religions and cultures.” Wang considers her experience at this year’s China-ASEAN Youth Summit so far considerably different from that in Singapore. At this event, China’s voice can boom and she is not a guest. As a member responsible for hosting the China-ASEAN Youth Summit, she stands ready to provide service for participants.
“As a member of the organizing committee for the summit, the biggest part of my job is making sure everyone attends the meetings in good shape,” Wang reveals.
Activities participated by students of Peking University majoring in Southeast Asian languages are few and far between. “I am the only Chinese Southeast Asian languages major in the organizing committee,” Wang notes. “Very few students are in the department. Enrollment occurs only once every four years, and right now we have only 60 undergraduate students in the department.” Wang jokes that this makes her in a “minority.”
Wang explains that because students from China and ASEAN are from different cultural backgrounds, they do not find many opportunities to communicate in a deep, intimate way. But for this occasion, all of them have worked together for the sake of the summit, during which time they have gained a better understanding of each other. “I am elated that this summit has enabled me to meet international students from ASEAN and learn more about their countries,” adds Wang. “This unforgettable experience has improved me and inspired us to cooperate in the pursuit of excellence.”