USI taps into its international network for a gesture of solidarity

The arrival of the parcel at Swiss Post's sorting centre in Ticino
The arrival of the parcel at Swiss Post's sorting centre in Ticino
A detail of the package, ready for delivery to the clinic in Lugano
A detail of the package, ready for delivery to the clinic in Lugano

Institutional Communication Service

18 May 2020

During the first week of May, 3000 disposable medical masks were delivered to the LuganoCare Medical Centre, coming from China, from where some N95 type masks will possibly be delivered to the Luganese Moncucco Clinic. This operation was made possible also thanks to USI professor Jean-Patrick Villeneuve, through his Sino-Swiss network of contacts, particularly the Anhui Association Switzerland, an association of Chinese living in Switzerland and originally from Anhui Province of China.

"It was not easy to organise this delivery, it took almost two months to complete", says Prof. Villeneuve, Director of the Institute of Public Communication at USI (Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society). "The idea was launched towards the end of March, in the middle of a health emergency in Ticino, by my colleague Prof. Xiankun Lu (Managing Director at LEDECO in Geneva), with whom I have been collaborating for several years on a few projects that, among other things, have brought me to give regular seminars in Beijing. Professor Lu, as Deputy President of the Anhui Association Switzerland, has been working on this initiative together with his colleagues, particularly Mr. Jun Rong, President of the Association, and Ms. Li Yu, Deputy President of the association and a medical practitioner based in Lugano", explains Villeneuve.

The key to make things happen was the relations with the Swiss representation in Beijing: "We made contact with Dr. Renaud Vuignier, Deputy Head of the International Cooperation Division at the Swiss Embassy in Beijing, with whom I have close relations thanks to his academic background at the University of Lausanne, first as a graduate of the PMP Master's degree (of which I am scientific co-director for the study programme at USI), then as a doctorate at Idheap. Dr. Vuignier has been firmly supporting this initiative from the very beginning", he continues.

The donation of these medical supplies was made possible also thanks to the collaboration of the Anhui Association Switzerland with the Beijing United Charity Foundation (www.cbucf.org), the Western Returned Scholars Association (www.wrsa.net), and Swiss Alliance of Chinese Associations. "The amount of material donated is not enormous, but it is a significant gesture that underlines how international relations in the academic field can also be useful in other contexts", concludes Prof. Villeneuve.

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