Hosted by the Professional & Educational Services International and undertaken by Renmin University of China, “Mingde Siyuan Student Leaders’ Training Program” (also called Mingde Student Leaders’ Training Program in the first three terms and now Mingde Siyuan Training Program) is grounded on the exchange between Chinese and American tip-top young talents with an international view and innovative ideas. Through activities such as lectures, group discussions, assistant teaching, and visits to Hongkong, it aims to help all the students know China and the world better, promote mutual communication and understanding, and build consensus and friendship.

This program was started in 2009 and consisted of two phases, of which the first was to study and do research in Beijing and teach as a volunteer in west or northeast China in the first summer holiday, while the second was to conduct some research and investigation in Hong Kong in the following summer holiday. At this moment the fourth and the fifth terms are under way, as listed here.

Term Participants Selection Phase 1 Phase 2 (HK) Teaching Site
1 30 students from Renmin University, 10 American students and 3 coaches Recommendation from each school Jun. 29-Jul. 20, 2009 Jul. 24-Aug. 3, 2010 Huinong Middle School, Hongguozi Town, Huinong County, Shizuishan City, Ningxia Province
2 30 students from Renmin University, 10 American students and 3 coaches Recommendation from student organizations Jul. 3-Jul. 25, 2010 Jul. 29-Aug. 8, 2011 Minhe No. 2 Middle School, Haidong District, Qinghai Province
3 33 students from Renmin University, 9 American students and 3 coaches University- Wide Selection Jul. 12-Jul. 30, 2011 Jul. 13-Jul. 24, 2012 Xizhuozishan School, Hainan District, Wuhai City, Inner Mongolia
4 32 students from Renmin University, 10 American students and 3 coaches University-Wide Selection Jul. 7-Jul. 27, 2012 Jul. 13-Jul. 23, 2013 Xizhuozishan School, Hainan District, Wuhai City, Inner Mongolia
5 35 students from Renmin University, 11 American students and 3 coaches University-Wide Selection Jul. 9-Jul. 26, 2013 NA Xizhuozishan School, Hainan District, Wuhai City, Inner Mongolia

In the first two terms, students were recommended by schools and school organizations affiliated to the Student Affairs Office. Since the third term, Mingde Siyuan Training Program has been open to all the students and exerted a great influence in Renmin University. About 230 students registered in the fourth term, and more than 300 in the fifth one, but they would have to go through a series of selection process.

The first training program started in the summer holiday in 2009. In Phase One, there were two sessions. The first session included group discussions, lectures and social research in Beijing. With “cultural clashes” as the theme, Chinese and American students had group discussions and wrote reports on such topics as “how to view the Chinese and western cultures in the age of globalization.” They also listened to lectures given by distinguished professors from the School of Chinese Classics, the School of Economics and the School of International Studies of RUC, officials from the U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, CEO of Qianxiangwancai Technology Ltd. and the like, who explained such issues as “cultural exchanges between China and the western world,” and “Sino-US dialogue,”. In the social research part, students were introduced to Chinese ancient civilization and modern achievement through field trips to the Palace Museum, the Capital Museum, the National Stadium and other places so that they could improve their understanding of the Chinese society. The other session was assistant teaching in Huinong Middle School, Hongguozi Town, Huinong County, Shizuishan City, Ningxia Province. It is estimated that over 400 pupils and middle school students from Yinchuan and Shizuishan participated in activities organized by RUC Student Affairs Office and American coaches, including field trips, group teaching and recreational gatherings. This one-week assistant teaching was a great success and was well-received by the local people.

In Phase Two from July 24 to August 3, 2010, 30 students with two coaches went on an eleven-day visit to Hong Kong, where they joined in various activities, such as lectures, on-site visit, research and investigation and so on, thus gaining comprehensive knowledge about Hong Kong in terms of political system, economic development, scientific research, education and culture, social life, legal affairs, etc., and a deep understanding of the present situation and social institutions in Hong Kong. During their stay in Hong Kong, students visited Hong Kong Museum of History to understand the historical development and cultural transmission, and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks to know the scientific development. They also paid a visit to several universities in Hong Kong, including the Chinese University of Hong Kong, City University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Hong Kong Baptist University, and got the opportunity to talk with Ruanzeng Yuanqi, the Vice President of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and other professors. Moreover, they visited many governmental institutions in Hong Kong, such as the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Hong Kong Housing Authority, the Independent Commission against Corruption, Hospital Authority and the like, and communicated with the legal workers in Hong Kong. Some well-known entrepreneurs and Mr. Li Zhigang, President of Peter F. Drucker Academy also delivered wonderful speeches and shared their stories, emphasizing Hong Kong entrepreneurial value of social responsibility. Later a lot of students remarked that it was very impressive that the spirit of “rule-by-law” should play such an important role in Hong Kong’s successful development and a visit to this international metropolis could broaden their horizon and enhance their understanding.

The year 2010 welcomed the second term of Mingde Student Leaders Training Program, which was largely based on the previous one. There were two sessions in Phase One in the 2010 summer holiday. The first session compromised group discussions, lectures and social research in Beijing. Students from both countries held group discussions on ten topics under the theme of “cultural clashes,” such as “how to live a happy life,” and completed some reports. Many noted professors in Renmin University and officials from the U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy Beijing were invited to give lectures on “The Emergence of China and Chinese Model” “Social and Population Problems in China and US” and other issues. Visits to such places as the Palace Museum and the 798 Art District presented Chinese culture in ancient times as well as achievements in modernization. The other session was assistant teaching in Minhe No. 2 Middle School in Haidong District, Qinghai Province where the Student Affairs Office and American coaches organized field trips, group teaching and parties. More than 300 Senior One and Senior Two students from Minhe No. 2 Middle School took part in these activities so that both Chinese and American college students could have a further understanding of Chinese society, promote mutual communication and establish close friendship with each other. Through assistant teaching, they could also develop their understanding of the economic and educational conditions in western regions and make contributions to the development of education in West China.

During the second term of Mingde Student Leaders Training Program in 2011 summer holiday, the second phase was an 11-day visit to Hong Kong, the same as the previous year. Thirty students from Renmin University and three coaches visited companies, government institutions and universities in Hong Kong and enhanced their understanding of Hong Kong’s economy, society and law. Through seminars, field trips and investigations, they arrived at an all-round apprehension of the status quo in Hong Kong in such areas as people’s livelihood, education, economy and trade, etc. Speeches given by successful people and investigations of local enterprises taught them a lot and enabled the students to experience the unique culture and a strong sense of social responsibility in Hong Kong. They also went on a visit to such places as Hong Kong Museum of History, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Hong Kong Housing Authority, Hospital Authority, Lantian Public Houses, the Independent Commission against Corruption, the High Court of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to fully understand the legal system, people’s livelihood, social and political institutions in Hong Kong.

On July 10, 2011, student representatives from Renmin University of China received nine American students from University of California, Berkeley in Beijing Capital International Airport, and the third term of Minde Student Leaders Training Program began. In the first phase, Chinese and American students cooperated with each other and developed together. Over the ten days, students listened to special lectures, had intensive discussions, visited local families and toured around several sites of interest, including National Museum of China, Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall, the Summer Palace and the Great Wall, after which students from both countries not only strengthened communication and understanding, but also developed agreement and friendship. On July 22, a group of 44 people arrived in Xizhuozishan School in Hainan District of Wuhai City, Inner Mongolia and went through a one-week assistant teaching. As a teacher, students prepared four kinds of common courses, including “Beijing Welcomes You” “Scientific Explosion” “Oral English Strom” “Happy Learning of Chinese Classics,” quality courses inclusive of all disciplines, interest sports meeting and other activities. By their original teaching methods and profound knowledge, all the teachers delivered the spirit of hope and dream to their students, and they also established a deep bond with the students from Xizhuozishan School.

Whether it’s the assistant teaching in the West and the Northeast, or the visit to Hong Kong, students found Mingde Siyuan Training Program reflection-provoking and impressive. Fu Wen in the second term said, “The highly developed economy, the fairly complete legal system and favorable public administration in Hong Kong were impressive, and there is a lot to learn.” Xue Li from the School of Finance pointed out, “Compared with Hong Kong’s rapid economic growth, the devotion of its people is more touching, because the spirit of serving the society and the country is what we lack in this age.” Wen Jing from the School of Business commented that these eleven days of gathering in Renmin University and growing together would be a lifelong experience of spiritual wealth. When asked about his opinions on his assistant teaching, Ying Xiangyu from the Department of Psychology explained, “In the last class, I shared my own experience and the students from University of California Berkeley talked about “American Dream” in order to tell the children that life was short so we must fight for what was important for us. Since I came back, I’ve been keeping in contact with them, and they also told me that they had learned a lot from that class. Those who rated “education” as the most important thing in their life moved to other places in quest of a better schooling and lived alone to pursue their dream, while those who put “parents” in the first place left school early and worked to help their family with the living. Because of their change, I really feel that ‘I’ve made a difference in the world’.”

At the beginning of the second phase of visiting Hong Kong in the fourth term of Mingde Student Leaders Training Program and the first phase of assistant teaching in the fifth term, all the students have made thorough preparations and they look forward to seeing a different world in the west, the Northeast and Hong Kong so that they can embrace more progress and a richer life.

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