At 10:00 AM on December 18, China celebrated the 40th anniversary of its reform and opening-up at the Great Hall of the People, when the CPC Central Committee and the State Council acknowledged 100 “reform pioneers” and honored 10 foreigners with “China Reform Friendship Medals”. Wang Huning, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and a member of the CPC Central Committee Secretariat, announced the decision to recognize outstanding contributors, who were presented medals by state leaders.
Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the grand gathering and delivered an important speech, in which he reviewed the 40-year glorious process of China’s reform and opening-up and shared the great accomplishments and lessons of the process, calling upon the Party and people to advance this process to new heights in the new era and work relentlessly towards the two centenary goals and the dream of national revitalization.
The celebration was broadcast live by mainstream media organizations such as CCTV and Xinhua News Agency. All the university leaders, middle managers, retirees and some faculty and student representatives watched the celebration in different locations. Schools and other affiliated departments also organized their faculty members and staff to watch the live broadcast. In the dormitory area, students watched the broadcast either on outdoor LED screens or on their own mobile devices. All viewers found themselves excited and inspired by President Xi’s speech and successes achieved over the past 40 years, a feeling shared by some faculty members and students in post-broadcast interviews.
Chancellor Chen Ligen said in an interview that the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up also coincides with the 40th anniversary of NAU’s reopening and that the development of NAU, driven by the reform and opening-up, has been synchronous with the rise of the nation. Over the past four decades, NAU as a major pillar of Chinese agricultural education has been committed to its mission of fostering virtue through education and contributing back to society. NAU has also achieved leapfrog development. Today, seven disciplines of NAU are listed among the world’s 1% according to ESI rankings. In particular, Agricultural Science and Botany and Zoology are among the world’s top 0.1%, placing NAU at the global forefront in these fields.
Chancellor Chen said that over the past 40 years, NAU has helped farmers overcome many challenges and has written one success story after another in reviving agriculture through technology—driven by its priority of “doing what is most needed by agriculture and farmers”. Looking into the future, NAU people will stay focused on agriculture and education and uphold its mission as a trailblazer to write a new chapter in China’s rural revitalization and poverty reduction.
After watching the live broadcast, academician Gai Junyi shared his personal stories during the Great Chinese Famine and the Cultural Revolution. He extolled transformative changes which China’s reform and opening-up has created for society and individuals. As an educational and scientific professional, he reaffirmed his commitment to advance the progress of science and education in the enterprising spirit of reform and opening up.
As mentioned above, the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up also coincides with the 40th anniversary of NAU’s reopening. In the second half of this year, all schools and departments organized a number of celebrations and exhibitions to showcase the accomplishments of both the country and NAU over the past 40 years, as well as the relentless and pioneering spirit of NAU people along the way. These activities are designed to guide and inspire all faculty members and students to contribute to NAU’s vision of becoming a world-class agricultural university on its new journey.