My Story: How BRI enlightens my future
Dominikus Brian

Editor's note: The 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held in Beijing at the end of this month. Over the past six years, we have heard many voices – mostly political and economic ones – speak about BRI. But we wanted to also hear from ordinary people who have experienced BRI for themselves. Over 100 people took part in our "CGTN Belt and Road Essay Contest," and we selected the 18 best stories. Here is one of our third-prize winners. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

In my perspective, China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) means vast opportunities, deep connectivity, and is a platform to build a better future, together. The BRI is driving regional and global economy, as well as people-to-people connections, with an unprecedented scale of growth and unparalleled accessibility. 

Personally, it provides me with a platform, a path that is transforming my life and future career altogether.

Here is my story that will illustrate the three key points of what BRI has meant for me: opportunity, connectivity, and a better future.

My name is Domi – Dominikus Brian, in full – and my Chinese name is 鍾鸿盛. I was born and raised in Indonesia, and educated in China. At present, I am a master's student at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). The fact that I am descended from Chinese grandparents, on both sides, led me to believe that heading to China was inscribed in my DNA.

 Dominikus Brian speaks at the Chinese Student Program organized by the Shanghai Municipal Government, May 11, 2018. /Courtesy of Dominikus Brian

 Dominikus Brian speaks at the Chinese Student Program organized by the Shanghai Municipal Government, May 11, 2018. /Courtesy of Dominikus Brian

My first step in China was in 2012. At the time, I had just begun exploring the world of entrepreneurship. Throughout my high school years, I started an online printing business, a bow tie retail, and established an offline food court. Inspired by a conversation with my father's friend, a businessman who owns an electronic factory in China, I decided I needed to go to China and learn first-hand about the vast opportunities in both business and technology.

On September 2013, I left my home and moved to China. I resided in Qingdao City, Shandong Province, to study chemical engineering. Surprisingly, a month later, my home country, Indonesia, witnessed the announcement of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road during President Xi Jinping's visit. This, along the Silk Road Economic Belt announced a month earlier from Kazakhstan, makes up what is known today as the Belt and Road.

In my thoughts, this was a harbinger of special relations, prospects, and cooperation that will develop between the two countries – China and Indonesia. Deep in my heart, this convinced me that I am on the right path toward a brighter future.

At the start of my new life in China, I focused on my classroom studies and found time to learn how the booming industries in the country are developing. Through what I call field exploration (i.e. me roaming various cities in China, with friends or associates during weekends or holidays), I became connected with people in the Indonesian embassy and consulate here in China, also the Indonesian Student Association under its umbrella. Soon enough, I became involved with the association, and eventually moved up the ladder and became one of its China-wide leadership team members.

Dominikus Brian and Chinese elementary school students. /Courtesy of Dominikus Brian

Dominikus Brian and Chinese elementary school students. /Courtesy of Dominikus Brian

One can easily feel that the connection between China and Indonesia was getting intimate day by day, a manifestation of the influence of BRI. Government officials at the ministerial level, as well as industry partners from Indonesia, started flocking to China to learn and establish projects. The role of students like me – trilingual in Mandarin, Indonesian, and English – becomes pivotal in supporting people-to-people connectivity. I accompanied diplomats and business people whenever my time permitted; such opportunities altered my life.

Days, months, and years passed by. These ideas and information exchanges ingrained in me the mindset of the importance of innovation and technological breakthrough toward fueling the realization of connectivity between countries, through BRI, for example. This led me to invest more of myself in the world of research, so not to only have an entrepreneurial mindset, but to be a “researchpreneur” as I termed it. To realize this ambition, I worked my way up to a better platform to and arrived at SJTU.

Recently, I took an active role in a program that focuses on addressing social problems using technology in Belt and Road countries. We formed a team of multidisciplinary backgrounds for a field study to Thailand and Bangladesh – another testament to how BRI drives connectivity between people of different backgrounds and cultures.

Dominikus Brian and his classmates. /Courtesy of Dominikus Brian

Dominikus Brian and his classmates. /Courtesy of Dominikus Brian

Next year I will graduate from my master's program and currently, I am striving my way to secure a Ph.D. position at Tsinghua University. All the above will serve as the cornerstone for my career development in China – to be an industry-valued university professor and "researchpreneur."

I am also looking forward to contributing even more to the rapid and massive technological and scientific breakthroughs that China is driving, and to be part of this historic era. I believe humans can achieve a lot with concerted cooperation. BRI, for one, is becoming the path that establishes a monumental foundation for addressing future challenges, together. Succinctly, the BRI initiative is changing the socio-economic landscape that builds a foundation to a better shared future of mankind.

(The author is from Indonesia and is now studying at Shanghai Jiao Tong University of China. If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at opinions@cgtn.com.)