Thousands of volunteers line Xiamen to help visitors for BRICS Summit


As delegations for the BRICS Summit arrive in Xiamen, they will need some help navigating the city. The volunteers for the Summit have them well covered. They are ready to help dignitaries, journalists and other visitors.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman met some among the thousands of them.

In their white uniforms – hats, shirts, pants and shoes – volunteers for the upcoming BRICS Summit are a familiar sight around Xiamen. The Summit opens on Sunday.

Zhao Xingyue is a student at Xiamen University, who is among the volunteers. “This is my first time participating in such a big event. It is unforgettable,” he said.

More than 2,000 volunteers are trained to assist with transportation, logistics, translation and more. Organizers began recruiting volunteers in January and received more than 30,000 applications. The chosen went through three months of training.

“We received training in etiquette, cultural knowledge about the BRICS countries and physical training,” Zhao Xingyue said. He specializes in transportation logistics for journalists.

The volunteers include Chinese students as well as international students from the other BRICS countries.

“I feel it’s a big opportunity for me to be a part of BRICS right now,” a volunteer from India said.

As the city fills with visitors who speak different languages and are unfamiliar with Xiamen, the volunteers have become an essential part of the BRICS Summit.

Su Zimeng, another student from Xiamen University, said she is honored to play a part making the summit a success. “It’s an international event both culturally and economically and also it’s a good opportunity to show China’s image as a major country,” she said.

When the volunteers are not handy with their tasks, there are guide books in every hotel room and self-serve kiosks to help foreigners. All parts of Xiamen are making visitors feel welcomed.

The volunteers also gain valuable experience about the BRICS countries and cultures.

“I got to know so many customs and cultures of the BRICS countries through this experience,” said Su Zimeng. “I will go and visit these countries if I have a chance.”

That is exactly the kind of “people to people exchanges” that BRICS hopes to promote.