Co-founder and Executive Chairman, Eco-Forum Global
Mr. Zhang is Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Eco-Forum Global, an independent organization founded in 2009 committed to building consensus among all stakeholders for development of a green and sustainable future. Today’s challenges have led him to devote himself to environmental protection and sustainable development.
He is also President of the China Education Association for International Exchange, Vice President of the International University Sports Federation, a board member of the International Institute for Education Planning, UNESCO, and Member of the 11th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
Mr. Zhang was Chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO (2005–2007) and was Chairperson of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (2003–2004).
Mr. Zhang has held key positions in China’s central, provincial and municipal governments. As the Vice Minister of Education in China (2000–2009), he was in charge of educational policy, regulations, and international cooperation. He promoted the Education for Sustainable Development in China leading to the integration of ESD into the curricula of Chinese schools. He also contributed to the creation of the Confucius Institute Programme.
He was elected for two consecutive tenures from 1989 to 1997 as Mayor of Suzhou Municipality. During this period, the government of Suzhou was one of the first to take economic, social, environmental and cultural factors into account. Under his leadership, Suzhou became the fourth largest city in terms of GDP and a role model of sustainable development in China. It attracted foreign direct investment, which helped preserve the historical city and environment and balance urban-rural concerns and needs.
From 1986 to 1989, he was Vice Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration. From 1978, Mr. Zhang was Co-founder and Executive Managing Director of Nanjing Jinling Corporation. His career in industry started in the Nanjing Panda Radio Factory.