Macron meets university students

Updated: Apr 10, 2023 By LI WENFANG in Guangzhou China Daily Print
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French President Emmanuel Macron highlighted ecological transformation of the economy, global strategic tensions and human exchanges in his speech at a university in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Friday.

It is necessary for students to carry out research and innovation to face up to the challenge of realizing carbon neutrality. Like bilateral cooperation launched four decades ago on nuclear energy, all new technological partnerships can be pushed forward between the two countries, Macron said in a speech at Sun Yat-sen University.

France and China, as major countries, have the responsibility to safeguard the international order in the 21st century, he said.

Meaningful people-to-people exchanges allow us to set a new path for the future or cultivate the existing path with passion, Macron said, extending a welcome to Chinese students to study in France. France also hopes to send more scholars and students to China.


French President Emmanuel Macron arrives at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Friday. He was welcomed by enthusiastic students hoping for a selfie or a high-five with the French leader. GONZALO FUENTES/AP

In answering a question from a student on how to prepare for the future, Macron highlighted learning capability, critical thinking and self-confidence.

Critical thinking and humanistic care are necessary in addressing new technologies such as ChatGPT, he said, when addressing the impact of artificial intelligence.

He advised students not to resist new things. Technological transformation is affecting the way people learn and children grow. Technologies should be applied to serve humans instead of being allowed to drive society. This calls for open, transparent discussions which align with moral principles, he said.

April 7 marks World Health Day and Macron addressed a question from a student on how to tackle challenges facing public health.

He suggested the world unite around fundraising to reestablish a primary healthcare system, that free and open research be conducted, and that cooperation be carried out among different academic disciplines and countries.

Guo Yuhang, a fourth-year undergraduate student at the Sino-French Institute of Nuclear Engineering & Technology at Sun Yat-sen University, has been admitted by a French university to study engineering.

He said he expects his time in France to help improve his communication and teamwork capability skills as well as his cultural inclusiveness.

Sun Yat-sen University became the first in Southern China to launch a French department in 1957.

The university has established cooperative ties with 30 French universities and research institutions over a wide range of fields, said Gao Song, the university's president.

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