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BUCEA Distinguished Professor, Mark van Loosdrecht, wins the Beijing Great Wall Friendship Award

On February 23, the 16th Beijing Great Wall Friendship Award ceremony and symposium was held in Shougang Park. YIN Li, Secretary of the CPC Municipal Committee, YIN Yong, Deputy Secretary of the CPC Municipal Committee and Mayor, and LIU Wei, Deputy Secretary of the CPC Municipal Committee, attended the ceremony and presented awards to 15 winners. Mark van Loosdrecht, foreign academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and distinguished professor of BUCEA, attended the ceremony to receive the honor. Relevant events were also attended by ZHANG Dayu, Deputy Secretary of the CPC Committee and President of BUCEA.

On behalf of the Beijing Municipal Government, YIN Li expressed his warm congratulations and heartfelt thanks to foreign experts who received the Great Wall Friendship Award. He pointed out that Beijing has vast potential for development, which cannot be achieved without the support and participation of international talents. It is hoped that everyone can share opportunities to actively participate and contribute more.

YIN Yong presenting the award to Mark van Loosdrecht

The Great Wall Friendship Award is the highest honor awarded by the Beijing Municipal Government to foreigners in Beijing. Since its establishment in 1999, a total of 221 foreigners from 32 countries have been awarded this honor.

Prof. Mark van Loosdrecht has long been dedicated to the study of water environment treatment and has been a visiting professor of BUCEA since 2002. In 2016, on behalf of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, Prof. Mark van Loosdrecht promoted the establishment of the Sino-Dutch R&D Center for Future Wastewater Treatment Technologies along with BUCEA and Beijing Capital Eco-Pro Group (BCEPG). The program was included in the Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Future Urban Design. Prof. Mark van Loosdrecht won the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize in Singapore (2012), the Stockholm Water Prize (2018), the China Government Friendship Award (2020), and the 1st Zhongguancun Award for International Cooperation (2020, one of the Beijing Science and Technology Awards). He was also elected as a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (2019).

Speech by Prof. Mark van Loosdrecht upon receiving the award:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I stand before you deeply honored to receive the Great Wall Friendship Award, and I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the city of Beijing and its esteemed representatives. This award is not just a recognition of individual effort, but a symbol of the enduring friendship and collaboration with many researchers and engineers in China – especially with the Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture (BUCEA), and the Beijing Capital Eco-Pro Group (BCEPG).

I consider myself fortunate that during my career I have been work close together with China. It not only builds many friendships but I could also see how a determined government can implement environmental technologies resulting in a strong improved environment in China in the last decades.

There is an immense value of promoting people-to-people exchanges. In a world that is facing great challenges, the need for mutual understanding and learning has never been greater. People with different cultural background working together on solving these challenges, are better situated to come with solutions for global problems.

In Beijing I am working within Sino-Dutch R&D Center for Future Wastewater Treatment which is led by BUCEA, a tight collaboration for almost 8 years, in which we have obtained a lot of both theoretical and practical achievements. Among others, a prospective technical framework of Blue Water Factories (BWFs) has been proposed and practiced in Beijing (executed by BCEPG). The wastewater mining principle is based on recovering phosphorus, biopolymers, energy and water. The concept of Blue Water Factories is not only a future global trend for wastewater treatment, but also is in accordance with China’s current developing mode, ‘Modernization of Harmony between Man and Nature’. The concept closely aligns with the carbon reduction plans implemented in China. For example, wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) could capture heat from treated water and deliver it to society, making treatment processes carbon neutral and helping to decarbonize society. Last but not least, a key technology of compact Blue Water Factories, aerobic granular sludge is engineered to be adopted for Chinese conditions, first implementations have been achieved by BCEPG.

The Great Wall of China stands as a testament of what people can do if they work together. This spirit is needed when solving present days great challenges such as climate adaptation, providing healthy and clean liveable cities or building a resource efficient society. This urges collaboration between different cultures, but also between academia and industry. I hope also in the coming years to be able to contribute to these exchanges.

Working in Beijing with Chinese colleagues has and will certainly remain a pleasure. The environment is stimulating, efficient and pleasant and WeChat is a good way to keep connected when at home.

Our journey towards learning from each other and jointly prospering the garden of world civilization is akin to tending a garden rich in diversity. Each culture, like a unique flower, contributes its beauty and vitality to the whole. As we share knowledge, ideas, and experiences, we nurture this garden, enabling it to flourish and thrive.

In conclusion, let us continue to foster these invaluable exchanges, based on the Sino-Dutch R&D Centre for Future Wastewater Treatment Technologies. Let us learn from each other, grow together, and enrich our collective human experience. Together, we can ensure that the garden of world civilization blooms with the beauty of diversity and the strength of unity.

Thank you.

Symposium held at BUCEA

On February 21, the Symposium with Prof. Mark van Loosdrecht on Winning the Beijing Great Wall Friendship Award was held at BUCEA, which was attended by President ZHANG Dayu, Vice President LI Junqi and Distinguished Prof. Mark van Loosdrecht, and presided over by Vice President LI Junqi.

On behalf of BUCEA, ZHANG Dayu firstly extended his warm congratulations to Prof. Mark van Loosdrecht on winning the Beijing Great Wall Friendship Award. He also expressed his heartfelt thanks for his support in the technological cooperation and professional training in the field of water treatment between the two universities as well as between China and the Netherlands. He said that in the future, the construction of the Sino-Dutch R&D Center for Future Wastewater Treatment Technologies will adhere to a path of international development, and continue to strengthen the dual-driver development mode led by high-end talents and driven by industry demands. The Center will also strive to accelerate the construction of distinctive talent centers and innovation hubs, and achieve new breakthroughs in strengthening technological advantages, creating gathering places of talents, and promoting the application of scientific and technological achievements.

Prof. Mark van Loosdrecht said that he was honored to receive the Beijing Great Wall Friendship Award as a distinguished professor at BUCEA. In the future, he will work to promote the construction of the Sino-Dutch Center in order to contribute to the healthy and sustainable development of global urban habitat.