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SISU volunteers pour heart and soul into making CIIE a success

10 November 2020 | By CHEN Huizhi | SHINE (Shanghai Daily)

  • SISU volunteers to CIIE

    Volunteers are essential to the smooth running of the China International Import Expo.

  • Zhang Liwei

    Zhang Liwei (left) serves journalists at the media center at this year's CIIE.

  • Song Xinting

    Song Xinting selects a "blind box" for a volunteer.

  • Song Xinting

    Song Xinting hands over a "blind box" to a volunteer.

  • Blind Boxes

    A volunteer opens up a "blind box" he receives.

  • Blind Boxes

    A volunteer browses contents in "blind boxes" at the "Home of Volunteers."


 total of 196 volunteers recruited from Shanghai International Studies University(SISU) are serving at this year's China International Import Expo(CIIE), an annual global event for economic cooperation starting from 2018.

Guiding visitors, serving the media and assisting in administrative work, they keep the event running smoothly.

Doctoral volunteer on the run

Zhang Liwei is a doctoral student from SISU's School of Russian and Eurasian Studies. Fluent in Russian and English, Zhang serves journalists at the media center and helps them with media trips in Shanghai during the expo. He said he enjoys meeting people from foreign countries and communicating with them.

The 29-year-old taught Russian at Tianjin Foreign Studies University before he was enrolled as a doctoral student in SISU this year.

Native of Hubei Province, where the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out, Zhang said he successfully started his doctoral studies as planned thanks to efficient reaction of the Chinese government.

He said he didn’t hesitate when he got the opportunity in September to serve the CIIE. He had previously served as a Russian interpreter at large international events such as the Summer Davos in Tianjin.

“Such events are great chances for me to have close contact with foreigners from all walks of life, especially those from the countries that my study covers,” he said. “It’s also my honor to serve important events in my country with my knowledge.”

When Zhang told his supervisor Yang Bo, he got immediate support. Yang served as private interpreter to the prime minister of Russia during the first CIIE in 2018.

Zhang said the organization of volunteer work on the expo was impressive.

“At many other events, volunteers are not given specific work to do, nor are they told how to do what, but here we’re assigned to specific posts and work shifts and given a good training on our job,” he said. “This enables all volunteers to do their job well and ensure that they can have a good rest.”

Zhang said that even before the opening of the CIIE, he had received inquiries about media trips from journalists from Hong Kong and Macau and from Japan. The journalists were introduced to trips themed on Shanghai’s economy and culture.

The CIIE, he said, also opened his eyes.

“I’m a student of liberal arts, and the import expo is a world of science and technology that inspires me so much.”

Among the 196 students from SISU volunteering for this year’s CIIE, three in four of them can speak two foreign languages, and 35 of them speak three.

The volunteer behind volunteers

Greater incentives are given to volunteers at this year’s CIIE, and Song Xinting, a volunteer herself, is on the team of the Shanghai Youth League, the volunteer service provider, to make this happen.

Song, a third-year student of French at SISU, has a passion for both volunteer services and serving volunteers.

The voluntary service organizer from Taiwan said she believes that volunteer activities of higher quality and more active engagement from contributors can make real changes in society.

“As a volunteer behind the volunteers, my job is to make my fellow volunteers enjoy doing good deeds for others and in this way inspire more people to do the same,” she said.

Song, who has been working as an intern at Shanghai Youth League, said her team started to plan the volunteer service project for the CIIE, “Home of Volunteers,” from the end of September.

There were similar projects at the past two expos, but this year more sponsors were drawn to provide incentives for volunteers, and the needs of volunteers were better taken into consideration.

Apart from snacks and drinks, volunteers are provided with skincare products, herbal candies, stationery, eye patches and mobile phone cases. The gifts are hidden in “blind boxes” – volunteers having no idea what’s inside until they open them.

“Ideas from us student volunteers were referred to during the design of the project,” Song said.

At the “Home of Volunteers,” there is a small elevated stage near the dining area where the volunteers can entertain themselves. There is also a reading corner.

On a team that runs the largest volunteer service projects she has ever participated, Song said it’s a fulfilling mission.

“While in school projects, junior students usually follow instructions from their seniors, but such projects are a bigger stage for me to think and work independently,” she said.


Press Contact

SISU News Center, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Tel : +86 (21) 3537 2378

Email :

Address :550 Dalian Road (W), Shanghai 200083, China

Further Reading