Polish-Chinese relations consist of not only high level meetings, but also multiple bottom-up initiatives, whose founders work hard everyday to deepen the relations between those two countries. One of the most prominent initiatives of this kind is the project of the Students’ Organization for Law and Economy of China – Warsaw-Beijing Forum: Youth for Business.

The idea of the Warsaw-Beijing Forum came up in 2013. The students’ goal was to fill the void which appeared as the importance of China in our region grew bigger. After Xi Jinping’s announcement of the strategic economic project Belt and Road, Polish entrepreneurships started directing their attention towards China. However, their knowledge and experience with establishing contacts with Chinese companies was lacking. Students noticed the need to deepen the knowledge about Polish-Chinese relations and promote the cooperation of academic environments and entrepreneurships. In order to create a knowledge and experience exchange platform between Poland and China they contacted the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. Using their skills and creativity, the project participants managed to set up a conference in Warsaw involving Chinese students and lecturers. They subsequently gathered funds on their own in order to travel to China and take part in the Beijing part of the conference. Even though they were starting from scratch, in just a few months they managed to prepare a strong foundation for the development of the next editions of the project.

With each passing year, Warsaw-Beijing Forum was becoming an even bigger and more recognizable brand. The next editions started attracting more prestigious partners and sponsors. The project received the support of renowned companies such as KGHM, K&L Gates or Norton Rose Fulbright. Through the years such guests as the Polish President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki or the Mayor of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, attended the conference in Warsaw. Thanks to the support of these people and institutions, the Warsaw-Beijing Forum achieved recognition and became a flagship initiative at the University of Warsaw. The cooperation of Polish and Chinese students created a basis for business and academic contacts, which resulted in the development of bilateral relations.

This year’s edition of the Warsaw-Beijing Forum received support from both local and international entrepreneurs, as well as public administration institutions. In April, the students from Warsaw together with the delegation of 16 students from China University of Political Science and Law will participate in workshops, lectures and case studies prepared by lawyers and entrepreneurs. A seminar in the field of law will be conducted by the founder of the Chinese Law School at Gdańsk University – Magdalena Pszczółka of LOTOS S.A., while Professor Bogdan Góralczyk will introduce the students to the development of Polish-Chinese trade relations and the specifics of Xi Jinping’s foreign policies. The participants will also attend workshops organized by such law firms as SDZ Legal or JINGSHI.

The students’ activities are not restricted solely to establishing contacts or acquiring partners and sponsors. The participants of the project are also organizing multiple internal substantive meetings in order to educate a group of people, which will try to take a substantial part in shaping future Polish-Chinese relations.

Authors: Maria Wiśniewska, Michał Nita
Translation from Polish: Szymon Kowalski