It was a year full of challenges. But more than that, it was also a chance for us to reaffirm commitment, to seek innovative resolutions, to realize that greatness resides in everyone and that we will make it through.

On January 6th, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a letter in reply to the student representatives of the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate (GAUC), expressing his appreciation for their common concern for the planet and future of mankind.

On February 17th, Tsinghua’s Spring semester began. Setting up their mobile phones or computers and taking out their notebooks, Tsinghua students from all over the world were well prepared for their first class of the new semester. Online courses offered students the opportunity to make good use of their time away from campus while reducing their exposure to the virus. For Spring semester 2020, Tsinghua offered 4,254 course sessions in total, delivered by 2,681 faculty members to 25,091 students. Of these, 3,923 sessions are available online.

Chinese President Xi Jinping inspected the scientific research on novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as well as the diagnosis and treatment of the disease in his visit to two Institutes in Beijing. He visited the Academy of Military Medical Sciences and the School of Medicine at Tsinghua University on March 2nd, learning about the progress on the vaccine, antibodies, medicine and fast testing kit research and application. President Xi gave his regards to experts and researchers and chaired a symposium to listen to the views and advice from officials of relevant departments and researchers.

An online meeting, organized by the Asian Universities Alliance (AUA), was attended by 15 universities around the world to discuss fighting the COVID-19 pandemic on March 27th. The meeting featured the sharing of university response measures, with a view to identifying areas of cooperation on education and scientific research. In this way, the meeting echoed sentiments expressed at the G20 Extraordinary Leaders’ Summit on COVID-19 on March 26th, where President Xi Jinping called on the international community to strengthen confidence, act with unity and work together in a collective response against COVID-19. During the meeting, presidents, vice-presidents and representatives from the 15 universities shared their actions, experience and views on topics such as the roles universities can play in education and scientific research during the pandemic.

On the evening of April 24th, Beijing time, a Special Dialogue was held online. Co-convened by Tsinghua University and UNESCO, the Special Dialogue explored the extraordinary challenges to ensure higher learning continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Themed “Online Education in the COVID-19 Response and Beyond”, the dialogue shared university case studies, best practice, and experience in online education.

Tsinghua University and China Vanke Co. Ltd. signed a cooperation agreement on April 2nd to establish the Vanke School of Public Health, which will boost talent training, scientific research and further enhance China’s capabilities in public health management. Drawing on Tsinghua’s multidisciplinary advantages, the School will adopt new models of interdisciplinary cooperation and education. It is aimed at covering four research fields, and is oriented towards graduate education in preventative medicine, comprehensive healthcare, big data in healthcare, and public health policy and management.

The World Peace Forum (WPF) special video conference on “Post-Pandemic Era: China and the World” opened on June 16th.Tsinghua University President Qiu Yong, who is also Chairman of the forum, delivered the welcoming remarks at the opening session of the two-day virtual conference of the forum, which is China’s first non-governmental high-level forum on international security initiated by Tsinghua University in 2012.

Tsinghua University held its 2020 commencement ceremonies for undergraduate and postgraduate students online. The online commencement ceremonies were livestreamed world-wide on various media and social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter in both Chinese and English. Students who were unable to return to the university, and their families and friends watched the virtual celebration from the comfort of their own homes.

Tsinghua University convened a seminar on July 3rd to review its success in online teaching during the pandemic, share useful experience and explore new ways to further improve its online education system in the future.

The Tsinghua Global Summer School was held online in July for nine days, offering courses on the theme “Toward a Post-Pandemic World.” More than 1,000 students from 154 universities across 79 countries and regions were enrolled in this online summer school. Tsinghua University President Qiu Yong said the GSS would inspire the young students to rethink and reimagine the global community and define our responsibility in a post-pandemic world.

On September 1st, Tsinghua University released a commemorative logo for its 110 years’ anniversary. The elements in the logo reflected the profound culture of Tsinghua University. The “110” in the logo reflects the fact that Tsinghua people have inherited fine traditions, have explored and innovated bravely and have striven to open a new chapter in Tsinghua’s second hundred years, which is manifested in the 110th anniversary theme “Strive for Excellence, Innovate for the Future.”

Tsinghua University began its Fall semester by holding the first university-wide lectures of the semester. The first lectures in the 2020 Fall semester were held in the main building of the university and were broadcast live on various media platforms, including Tsinghua’s own online teaching platform “Rain Classroom”, in both Chinese and English. Unlike the Spring semester, which was held completely online due to the pandemic, Tsinghua’s Fall semester is going to see classes being taught both online and offline.

The Closing Ceremony for the 18th Symposium on Scientific Research took place both online and offline on October 9th. The theme of this year’s symposium was “Innovate research model to build a world-class university innovation system”. Launched in March, it lasted for six months and went through three stages: the discussion of problems, the presentation of reports and the conclusion. Initiated in 1956, altogether 18 symposiums on Scientific Research have been held up to this year and it has become a tradition to advance scientific research work at Tsinghua.

The China-US University Presidents’ Online Forum, jointly organized by Tsinghua University and Yale University, was held on October 13th, bringing together leaders from 20 leading Chinese and American universities to explore the development of higher education and to strengthen the post-pandemic resilience of university collaboration and networks.

On the evening of November 5th, the eve of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Italy, Tsinghua University and the Politecnico di Milano co-hosted the China – Italy University Presidents’ Forum.

The Asian Universities Alliance (AUA) Presidents Forum 2020, jointly organized by the AUA Executive Presidency 2020-2021, Nazarbayev University (NU), and the AUA Secretariat, was held online on November 26th. The forum brought leaders of 15 AUA member universities together to share their knowledge from the experience of coping with the COVID-19 crisis for sustainable survival and progressive development, and to co-create and develop, through hindsight and foresight, knowledge for more robust and resilient university systems capable of withstanding and responding to continuous, and probably more severe, uncertainties and challenges in the future.

The 2020 Advisory Board Meeting of Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management (Tsinghua SEM) was held on December 3rd, 2020 at Tsinghua University. Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the 2020 meeting of the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management (SEM) Advisory Board via video link and expressed his congratulations on the 20th anniversary of the board.

The Global MOOC Conference was held at Tsinghua University from December 9th to 11th. With the theme of “Learning Revolution and Higher Education Transformation”, this event was the first global conference featuring MOOC since its rise. China’s Minister of Education Chen Baosheng delivered a keynote speech, sharing the practical insights, innovation and exploration of China’s MOOCs and online education. The Global MOOC Alliance – composed of 17 universities and three online education institutions from around the world – was officially launched at the conference to promote high-quality online education.

The 2020 Global Advisory Board Meeting of Tsinghua’s School of Public Policy and Management (SPPM) was held on November 7th. The meeting, held combining both online and offline channels under the theme “Challenges of Global Governance and Cultivation of Public Management Talents,” brought together 25 advisory board members from China and abroad to assess gaps exposed by the covid crisis in global governance, exchange ideas to strengthen it in the post-Covid world, and set priorities for the further development of the school accordingly. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the opening ceremony of the meeting, and delivered a speech entitled, “Uploading Multilateralism to Tackle Global Challenges.”

Tsinghua University’s Vanke School of Public Health set up its first international advisory board on October 20th to bring great minds together and seek academic and other scientific and technical input for the further development of the recently-established school as well as for China’s public health sector. The board is composed of 34 well-known experts and scholars from 12 countries around the world, including deans of world-famous public health schools, leaders of non-governmental organizations, public health sector leaders, and outstanding entrepreneurs. Dr Margaret Chan, founding Dean of the school, presided over the meeting and introduced the board’s background and constitution.

Tsinghua University President Qiu Yong urged universities around the world to further strengthen cooperation with the United Nations (UN) to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and address the most urgent global challenges such as climate change. President Qiu delivered his remarks at the webinar for presidents of global universities with the UN Secretary-General entitled “University Sector Support to UN Secretary-General’s Call for a Decade of Action on the SDGs” on July 9th.

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