DONG XUE Astana, Kazakhstan “Back in 2013, Chinese president Xi Jinping proposed here for the first time building the Silk Road Economic Belt, which later evolved into the Belt and Road Initiative.”

Eleven years on, I’m here for the first time to speak to faculty members who witnessed the speech first hand. Aray Saniyazova worked as secretary to the university president, and tells me she was the first person officially contacted at the institution about the high level visit.

ARAY SANIYAZOVA Head Office, International Students and Scholars Services “On that very day, it was exciting, really exciting, we were all in anticipation of this address, of this high profile visit… when the presidents entered, we could feel the energy and charisma radiating, we were very impressed.”

DONG XUE CGTN Reporter, Astana, Kazakhstan “What do you think of the significance of the Belt and Road Initiative?”

ARAY SANIYAZOVA Head Office, International Students and Scholars Services “I perceived this Belt and Road Initiative as a global development strategy and in fact that the Kazakhstan was one of the first countries who supported this idea and the idea was actually announced in this building at our university and I believe that It’s a great initiative to foster infrastructure, transport.”

Connectivity is a key word for the BRI, and Aray says that also includes bringing people together.

DONG XUE CGTN Reporter, Astana, Kazakhstan “How do you expect the future collaborations between the students, and people to people exchanges between China and Kazakhstan?”

ARAY SANIYAZOVA Head Office, International Students and Scholars Services “I think it’s really important to actually foster and then has such relationships and development of those interchange and exchange between students and the faculty and even staff, because exchange of information and knowledge is really important, and this also creates a sense of trust and mutual understanding which is really important in fostering this idea of Belt and Road Initiative and especially that soft side of that which actually put basis and foundation for developing the whole idea.”

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NSN.Asia

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