With Gratitude and Resilience for a Brighter 2023

01, 2023

Email: zhangchi@westlake.edu.cn
Phone: +86-(0)571-86886861
Office of Public Affairs

In my 2021 New Year’s address, I spoke of embracing uncertainty with the faith that improved understanding lies ahead. 2022 was yet another year of upheaval and instability — the unnerving combination of a lingering pandemic compounded by economic strife, geopolitical conflicts and climate crises put the world to the test and have people wondering what certainties remain. For me, the answer is clear – our continued successes, fueled by the agility and resilience shown this past year by the Westlake community.

At Westlake University, once again we came together to not merely persevere through this long ordeal, but also sustain and refine our purpose and vision. We forged ahead to create breakthroughs that will change the world, and we rose to new pinnacles of excellence across every facet of our mission. As we look back on 2022, I am grateful for what we have accomplished and how much we have grown and innovated in the face of challenges.

The confluence of crises that defined the past 12 months once again reaffirmed the importance of cross-border dialogue and international collaboration. In an increasingly polarized world, generously listening to others and generating innovative ideas are central to solving the looming global challenges. In 2022, despite the disruptions caused by the ongoing pandemic, Westlake University fortified its commitment to fostering a free flow of dialogue across borders and sectors. The 2022 Westlake Forum on Higher Education gathered representatives from 23 world-renowned universities to discuss the role of universities in training future leaders and promoting inter-university cooperation. In the past months, we also co-hosted the 13th Biennial Meeting of the Chinese Biological Investigators Society, organized a series of lectures, forums and symposia, and participated in a TEDxYouth event – all part of our efforts to enhance communication and cooperation.

2022 was a year of milestones for the Westlake community. Our campus of the future at Yungu finally opened its doors. We started a new chapter of our journey with dual-campus operations and witnessed a cultural feast of concerts, ballet performances and other entertainment for our close-knit community.

The arrival of the inaugural undergraduate class marked a historic moment for our community. Sixty talented undergraduate freshmen have enriched our campus with the exuberant energy of curious young minds. Their presence, along with the sixth cohort of 352 new doctoral students, has heralded a new phase of our development — cultivating young scientific leaders to build a better tomorrow for China, the world, and all of humanity.

In 2022, we expanded our team of exceptional talent who will boldly steer Westlake’s research and scholarship into the future. Twenty-six leading scientists – including chair professors Ren Sun, Ting Zhu, Qiufu Ma and William Shieh – joined our faculty, which now boasts a total of 211 doctoral supervisors, and breathed new vitality into our interdisciplinary community.

Westlake scientists continued to chart new territory in their fearless pursuit of knowledge. The many significant scientific discoveries over the past 12 months include a study revealing how intracellular bacteria play a key role in breast cancer metastasis by promoting cell survival during tumor progression. The findings lay the groundwork for future advances in breast cancer treatments and oncology care. Other major breakthroughs involve the development and clinical trials of a promising anti-COVID oral drug, and the invention of a new high-sensitivity DNA imaging technology.

Our researchers believe that the greatest value of their work lies not only in the scientific novelty but also in the benefit to our shared global community. This same spirit, to achieve for the common good of humanity, shines in the hearts of Westlake faculty, staff and students, who find myriad ways to make a difference on campus and beyond.

I have often noted that the framework of our university begins and ends with the people of Westlake and centers itself in our shared global community. Amid the ongoing pandemic, the challenges set before us have been great, but the indomitable resolve and resilience of our community have been even greater. As we bid farewell to 2022 and look, with hope, toward 2023, I am grateful for what we have accomplished, with confidence that it bodes well for the coming year.

Wishing you a very happy and healthy holiday season, and looking forward to all we will accomplish together in the new year.

Yigong Shi

President, Westlake University