The historic Silk Road cannot be imagined without China. In 2012, we created the Great Silk Way International Youth Union (hereafter GSW IYU), it was difficult to convince China to participate in such a platform. So we’re not sure whether we’re fully convinced yet.

The Revival of the Great Silk Way

In resolving this issue, we were supported by the policy of China’s state leader. The “One Belt, One Road” (The project is to made up of a “belt” of overland corridors and a maritime “road” of shipping lanes.) initiative aims to increase interdependence of the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa and their neighboring coasts, to establish and strengthen partnerships between countries located on the Silk Road, to achieve an independent, balanced and sustainable development. The project aims to connect 60 countries in Europe and Asia. The countries to be included in the project constitute 70 percent of the world’s population. 

The “Great Silk Way” International Youth Union was established for the purpose of coordination of activities of youth organizations, as well as representing and protecting common interests of the countries historically located on the silk route. The main objective and scope of activities of the organization is intercultural and interreligious dialogue, globalization issues and sustainable development.

However, the Silk Road was not only perceived as a trade route, because culture was introduced to the West through silk. In addition, it carried the traces of the cultures, religions and races living in the region for miles over a distance of 2000 years and inherited extraordinary historical and cultural interaction.

Cooperating with China

The policy announced by Xi Jinping has created the opportunity for cooperation between China and GSW IYU, which is the main goal of ensuring intercultural and interfaith dialogue and sustainable development. Since the establishment of the Union, proposals for cooperation with China have repeatedly been unresulted.

For the first time, the Chinese government began to show interest in this platform in 2014, moreover they send international relations officer of All-China Youth Federation (hereafter ACYF) – it is the youth organization of the ruling party of China – to the Board meeting of the Union which was held in Greece. In 2014-2016, we have been invited to several state and youth events in China and discussed bilateral relations. We organized meetings between member of Secretariat of the Union and the vice president of ACYF in 2017 and the Secretary General of ACYF in 2018. We agreed on a joint cooperation for young people of Silk Road countries.

Above all: Economy

Undoubtedly, a state – China – that has a global initiative can not only be interested in culture, religios and art. It was necessary to discover the area where China was interested – it was “economy”. In our last meeting, we offered the ACYF a project on young entrepreneurship and start-ups – and I think we have just started working with China.

The Chinese government implements a well-planned policy, which provides a substantial amount of funding for education and research in all around the world. It is a good idea because the future will be in the hands of young people. China wants to be one of the key parts of the multipolar world and plans to reach its goals through young people.

Our Duty

We, as a youth union, are striving to promote activity of young people in political, economic, cultural, social and humanitarian spheres and to strengthen cooperation among peoples in the Silk Road countries with the support of China – initiator of the Silk Road.

We believe and persuade that rebuilding the Silk Road will serve the peace. Countries that are economically linked to railways, highways and seaports will, of course, reduce the amount of controversy, boundary problems, and competition with each other.

This would actually bring peace to the region. It may mean that wars or crisis areas in the region will be resolved. As countries in the region develop economically, there will be a significant improvement in the sense of human rights and the development of life. Because there is a difference between the West and the East not only in the economic sense, but also in terms of the level of development and the standard of living of people, especially in the democratic sense and regarding human rights issues. We can say that this deficit will be largely closed in the future.

What is your view? Comment and let us know:

Aytan Aliyeva

Postgraduate student of the faculty of International Relations and European Studies at the Azerbaijan State University of Languages. French teacher at Centre of foreign languages, at “Irali” Public Union (2011). Assistant of the deputy head of International Relations and Protocol department at State Committee for Family, Woman and Child Affaires (2012). Since 2013 “Great Silk Way” International Youth Union as Project coordinator (2013– 2014), as International relations and Partnership Coordinator (2014), as Secretary General (2015 - present).