Students from 11 universities of six countries along the Mekong River, including China, competed in the third Youth Innovation Competition on Lantsang-Mekong Region's Governance and Development.
The competition was initiated in 2016 to inspire students to work out innovative and feasible projects offering suggestions and advice for regional development and to cultivate their international vision and cooperation capacity. It requires each three-member team to identify a problem in the region and provide solutions.
It was the first time the competition had been held outside China.
Connecting a total area of over 2.7 million square kilometers and with a population of 320 million, the Lantsang-Mekong region is rich in natural and labor resources, but still underdeveloped.
Under this year's theme of "development of tourism and other green industries," students from six countries in the Lantsang-Mekong region — China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam — came up with a total of 42 projects. After schools' recommendations and experts' evaluation, 20 projects entered the final competition, which was held from January 27 to 30 in Vientiane, capital of Laos.
The proposal of the Guangxi University of Finance and Economics was to set up a "Langtsang-Mekong International Youth League."
Qian Xuehua, a junior student who majors in business English in the Guangxi university, said the youth league would be a nonprofit organization to assist governments of all countries in reserving talent for ecotourism.
"Tourism has become another new breakthrough in the development of the Belt and Road Initiative. However, according to our survey, there is currently no organization specialized in training ecotourism professionals in the region."
Qian said the realization of the project would need government support, as well as help from research institutions and tourism experts who can provide business practice resources. Relevant departments of the scenic spots may provide teaching funds for the youth league.
Qinghai University's project is called "Intelligent Ecological Protection Detector."
According to Yao Jinming, a junior student from Qinghai University who majors in electrical engineering and automation, the project is aimed at ecological protection, monitoring of climate change and water resources protection in the river, known as the Lancang in China.
"The detector is carried by a balloon, a kind of low-cost flight equipment," said Yao. "But traditional balloon is hard to control and sometimes wasteful. We made innovations on traditional meteorological balloon, locking the material to aluminum foil and pressing the balloon into cones."
"We use pressure sensors and GPS positioning to obtain the intelligence balloons' status during the flight. At the same time, we use the MCU program we designed to hover and adjust the height of the balloon. The design of the detector allows further development space," Yao added.
In the first round of the competition, "The Langtsang-Mekong International Youth League" project won the "The Most Innovative Team Award." Also winning the award was "Sangthong Eco House," a project by the National University of Laos.
"The Most Valuable Issue Award" went to "Implementation of an Eco-Friendly Hotel" by University of Yangon and "Dragonball Project" by Vietnam National University.