Ten foreigners recognized for cultural work
Orchid Awards foster understanding, trust among people through exchanges
The inaugural Orchid Awards ceremony was held in Beijing on Friday to recognize and honor 10 foreign nationals who have made significant contributions to cultural exchanges and mutual learning between China and the rest of the world.
Li Shulei, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, attended the event and delivered a speech.
Du Zhanyuan, president of China International Communications Group, said that the Orchid Awards aim to actively implement President Xi Jinping's Global Civilization Initiative and foster understanding and trust among people from different nations through cultural exchanges.
Ten international figures were honored with the prestigious award, including music educator Joseph Polisi from the United States, former Egyptian prime minister Essam Sharaf, sinologist Flora Botton Beja from Mexico, and international communication expert David Ferguson from the United Kingdom.
Many of the recipients expressed their belief that in today's interconnected world, global peace and human progress are shared aspirations. They stressed the importance of deepening cultural exchanges and enhancing mutual understanding among nations. They also emphasized the need to encourage and guide more cultural ambassadors to promote exchange and mutual learning between diverse civilizations.
"I have often used the mantra that it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. I think such an aphorism aptly applies to this gathering," said Polisi, adding that only through people-to-people contacts can countries and institutions learn from each other.
Polisi, president emeritus and chief China officer of The Juilliard School, was awarded the Lifetime Honorary Award of the Orchid Awards. After his long tenure at The Juilliard School in 2018, he went on to establish the Tianjin Juilliard School, providing a new platform and injecting fresh impetus into promoting music education exchange between the American and Chinese peoples.
The awardees suggested actively implementing the Global Civilization Initiative by serving as guardians of the diversity of world civilizations, inheritors of various cultures, promoters of contemporary civilization advancement, and practitioners of intercultural exchange and mutual learning.
The first Orchid Awards, organized by China International Communications Group, received submissions from over 300 individuals and organizations from various countries, including the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Russia, Australia and South Africa.