President, IUCN

Mr Zhang Xinsheng is the President of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Executive Chairman of the Eco-Forum Global (EFG) and President of China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE). He was Chinese Vice Minister of Education (2001-2009).

Mr Zhang was elected Mayor of Suzhou, one of the leading economic cities in China, for two consecutive terms from 1989. During this time, Suzhou witnessed rapid social and economic development. Suzhou started a new role model of sustainably developing new zones while preserving the historical city and environment, and succeeded in establishing the China-Singapore Cooperative Suzhou Industrial Park. Mr Zhang was appointed concurrently the first Chairman of the Sino-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee and Chinese Co-Chair of the Working Committee for both Chinese and Singaporean Governments. Prior to that, he was Vice Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration.

Mr Zhang also had enterprise experiences. He was co-founder and served as Party Secretary and Executive General Manager of Nanjing Jinling Hotel and Jinling Tourist Management Group, one of the first projects to attract foreign investment in China. His career in industry started in the Nanjing Panda Radio Factory’s workshop and later in the chief engineer’s office.

Mr Zhang is an eminent figure in the world arena. He was elected Chairman of the Executive Board of UNESCO in 2005, the first chairman from East Asia. He served as Chairman of the World Heritage Committee from 2003 to 2004.

Mr Zhang was one of the initiators and designers of Confucius Institute. He is currently serving as a member of China-Japan 21st Century Commission and China-Japan-Korea Elite Forum. Mr Zhang was elected as deputy to the 7th and 8th National People’s Congress of China and a member of the 11th national committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Mr Zhang graduated from the Military Institute of Technology and Zhejiang University. He received his Master’s degree with distinction from the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Associates at Harvard Business School. He was among the first groups of visiting scholars sent by the Chinese government to study at the University of Denver in 1980. He was awarded Doctorates honoris casua by universities in the USA, Russia, Japan and Australia.

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