NYUAD Hosts its Inaugural Student-led China-Gulf Forum

Distinguished speakers address politics and diplomacy, business and technology, and culture and heritage of both countries

Press Release

In collaboration with The NYU Abu Dhabi Institute, NYU Abu Dhabi’s student Chinese cultural club hosted its first China-Gulf Forum, which addressed the intricacies of the relations between China and the Gulf.

The student-led initiative brought together renowned scholars, business leaders, and cultural specialists from diverse backgrounds, discussing the partnership between China and the Gulf at length, and examined the challenges and opportunities of the relationship.

The forum commenced with a keynote speech delivered by the Director General of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, former Head of UN Support Mission in Libya, and former Secretary of State in Spain His Excellency Bernardino León. Three consecutive panels then discussed the political and diplomatic relationship between the two countries, along with potential future opportunities through investment and advancement in technology.

Speakers addressed the transformation of the macro-business environment over the last five years, the future relationship between China and the Gulf, and the objectives of the Belt and Road Initiative in the Gulf region, a strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries, including the Middle East. 

Professor of International Relations at the University of Sharjah Shaojin Chai who participated in the event said, “China considers the UAE a strategic partner in the Gulf and the Belt and Road initiative, because of its advanced infrastructure and pivotal regional position and progressive social environment. Both sides have strategic and economic mutual interests, which should bring about prosperous and significant outcomes.”

“This first-of-its-kind initiative provides a valuable and rewarding experience for both the audience and the organizers,” says NYUAD’s Class 2020 student and Forum Director Diana Zhu. “The forum not only spearheaded the discussions on the changing dynamics between the Gulf and China, but also shed light on the potential opportunities and challenges of a new, rising international alignment that carries increasing significance.”


“It is quite inspirational to see how this forum, a student-led initiative, makes us fully aware of the important trade relations between China and the Gulf, especially that we have an increasing concentration of Asian students at NYUAD who are interested in knowing more about this.”

Professor of Political Science at NYUAD Christopher Paik said

China-Gulf Forum was facilitated by NYU Abu Dhabi students, Class of 2020 Diana Zhu, Class of 2021 Enshu Cheng, Class of 2022 Jimmy Jiang, Class of 2020 Lier Qiu, Class of 2022 Lin Ye, and Class of 2020  Mark Xu.

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.