Ten intl friends awarded inaugural Orchid Awards in China for promoting cultural exchanges
Published: Sep 08, 2023 07:43 PM

The ceremony for the inaugural Orchid Awards is held in Beijing on September 8, 2023 Photo:

The inaugural Orchid Awards ceremony was held in Beijing on Friday, with 10 international friends receiving the accolade. The move is part of the China-proposed Global Civilization Initiative, rewarding those who have made outstanding contributions to promoting cultural exchanges and mutual learning between China and foreign countries.

Li Shulei, a 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 ceremony.

The 10 friends include Joseph W. Polisi, an American music educator, who received the Lifetime Honorary Award, Essam Sharaf, former prime minister of Egypt, who received the Outstanding Achievement Award, and Flora Botton Beja, a Mexican sinologist, who received the Outstanding Achievement Award, according to China Pictorial on Friday.

"I firmly believe that changing the world into a better and more human world depends on harmonizing diversity through cultural connectivity, civilization dialogue and mutual learning," said Essam Sharaf, according to a short video posted by China Pictorial via X (formerly known as Twitter) on Friday.

In practicing the Global Civilization Initiative, the award-winning guests said that they should actively act as the preservers of global cultural diversity, inheritors of various civilizations, promoters of progress in the new era, as well as the practitioners of cross-cultural exchange and mutual learning. They added that they should make greater contributions to enhancing consensus on civilization, promoting civilization prosperity, and facilitating people-to-people exchange, according to Xinhua News Agency.

China has always supported cultural exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Friday's regular press briefing when commenting on the awards event.

The 10 international friends who won the awards included sinologist, translator, educator, artist, civil society founder and documentary director. Despite their different nationalities and life experience, the laureates, as friendly envoys of enhancing understanding, exchanges and cooperation, are committed to promoting global cultural exchanges and the development of human civilization, said Mao.

China stands ready to work with the international community to uphold the spirit of the Global Civilization Initiative, advocate the common values of humanity and promote cultural exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations with concrete actions, noted Mao.

The ceremony was hosted by the China International Communications Group (CICG), with the Orchid Awards Secretariat as the organizer. More than 300 participants from relevant central government departments, international organizations, diplomatic envoys, think tanks and media organizations attended the event. After the ceremony, an international cultural forum was held.

The Orchid Awards was initiated by CICG in 2022, with the aim of facilitating cultural exchange and mutual learning between China and the rest of the world. The Orchid Awards is different from the Chinese Government Friendship Award and the Special Book Award of China, as it honors individuals and organizations from the entire cultural arena including literature, art, film and people-to-people exchanges, according to the organizers.

The awards have drawn wide global attention, receiving 314 individual applications as well as applications from 33 organizations, according to the organizers at a press conference held in Beijing on July 12, when they announced the shortlist for the inaugural Orchid Awards.

Global Times