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FLIA Co-Hosts Landmark Belt and Road Negotiation Simulation at Wenzhou-Kean University

On May 25-26, 2024, the Foundation for Law and International Affairs (FLIA) co-hosted a groundbreaking Belt and Road Negotiation Simulation at Wenzhou-Kean University. This event, organized in collaboration with Wenzhou-Kean University, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University International Business School, and emlyon business school, marked a significant milestone for Sino-Foreign cooperative universities.

The Belt and Road Negotiation Simulation for Sino-Foreign Cooperative Universities

The simulation brought together over 60 students from eight countries and more than ten disciplines, spanning four continents. These students engaged in a dynamic negotiation process, adopting roles as Chinese investors, host country governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and international organizations (IGOs) to explore better solutions for the major issues involved in a Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) railway construction project.

Fostering Global Talent through Innovative Education

The participating universities are committed to educational innovation and excellence, serving both Chinese and international students. Their mottos—“We are makers” (emlyon business school), “We connect” (XJTLU International Business School), and “Start Here, Go Anywhere” (WKU)—highlight their mission to cultivate globally aware future leaders. These students are expected to tackle complex international relations and facilitate international cooperation in transnational projects.

Before the simulations, students underwent negotiation training. Asen Velinov, Director of Research Institution Business Environment and Rule of Law in Wenzhou-Kean University, emphasized that successful international transactions require practical communication and negotiation skills beyond thorough due diligence and legal compliance. WKU Professor Andrea Gatto urged students to focus on innovative solutions that balance short-term gains with long-term sustainability. Professor Rob Kim Marjerison stressed the importance of detailed communication strategies and contingency plans to handle potential challenges during negotiations.

Promoting Win-Win Communication in BRI Projects

Lila Ke, an attorney from Zhejiang Haichang Law Firm and event judge, stated that the BRI offers young students numerous platforms and opportunities, particularly through cultural exchanges and broadened perspectives gained from international interactions. The FLIA BRI Negotiation Simulation Project provides valuable training, helping students to acquire professional knowledge and strategic planning skills. These opportunities enable students to develop international thinking while maintaining local awareness, becoming versatile talents. Universities should optimize their training models to meet the needs of global governance, fostering a cadre of well-rounded, international legal professionals.

Dr. Shaoming Zhu, founder and president of FLIA, mentioned that previously, the FLIA BRI Simulation has been organized through competitions and training sessions in various countries and universities. However, this is the first time the program was held specifically for Sino-Foreign Cooperative Universities. This event not only marks a significant milestone in the growth of this unique educational initiative, but also underscores the importance of diverse and comparative perspectives and the value of cross-cultural understanding in international negotiations and collaborations. She hopes that more young people will have the opportunity to participate in this program, gaining fundamental knowledge, skills, and values that promote an inclusive approach to transnational projects and foster win-win solutions for all stakeholders involved. Through this program, they will gain essential knowledge in areas such as law, finance, and international affairs involved in these transnational projects, as well as develop key skills in negotiation, decision-making, diplomatic writing, law advocacy, and public speaking. By understanding the roles of governments, businesses, NGOs, and IGOs in cross-border investment projects, and addressing practical issues and knowledge frameworks, they will acquire the abilities and qualities needed for international negotiations and cooperation. Dr. Zhu also mentioned that the Foundation is currently developing more negotiation case scenarios with a focus on other transitional infrastructure initiatives, such as the Global Gateway and the Blue Dot Network.

Celebrating Diversity and International Collaboration


The negotiation simulation featured teams composed of students from different universities, nationalities, disciplines, and cultural backgrounds. Students had to collaborate within their diverse teams and negotiate with other multicultural teams. They found this aspect both challenging and enriching, as they learned from each other and made new friends.

The FLIA BRI simulation negotiation at WKU provided participants with valuable experiences, highlighting the importance of effective communication and cultural understanding in international cooperation. The event underscored the challenges posed by cultural differences in cross-border projects and how to address these challenges to maximize benefits. Participants were encouraged to think deeply about how to take responsibilities in these transitional projects and global governance.

International Students’ Recommendations for BRI Projects

One key takeaway from the event was the emphasis on transparent and environmentally friendly governance models for BRI projects. During the negotiation simulation, the participating international students advocated for several strategies to improve BRI projects:

  1. Enhanced Transparency: Ensuring all stakeholders have access to clear, accurate information to build trust and facilitate better decision-making.

  2. Sustainable Practices: Implementing environmentally friendly practices to balance development needs with ecological preservation.

  3. Cultural Sensitivity: Promoting cultural awareness and sensitivity to enhance cooperation among stakeholders from diverse backgrounds.

  4. Human Rights Protection: Safeguarding the well-being and welfare of local employees through fair labor practices and ensuring safe working conditions.

  5. Inclusive Decision-Making: Involving local communities and organizations in the decision-making process to ensure projects meet their needs and gain their support.

These recommendations reflect a growing recognition among young leaders of the need for a more transparent, inclusive, and sustainable approach to international development initiatives like the BRI.

Moments from the Event

Special thanks to Asen Velinov, Director of the Research Institution Business Environment and Rule of Law at Wenzhou-Kean University, for organizing this event.

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