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Home >> China
UPDATED: 16:01, September 30, 2004
Friendship Award awards friends
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An annual award to foreign experts who have made remarkable contributions to China's social and economic development was announced Wednesday at the Great Hall of the People with 84 foreign experts from 21 countries selected as the winners this year. Among the winners are Nobel Prize winner Alan G. MacDiarmid, chief economist of the US Environmental Defense Daniel J. Dudek etc. An awarding ceremony was held in the Great Hall of the People in honor of the winners, during which Chinese Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu praised the winners for their contributions to China's economic and social development. "The Chinese government and people will never forget the contribution they have made to our modernization cause," he said.

In the run-up to the awarding ceremony a series of activities have been planned. Winners and their spouses are invited to participate in the festivities held by the Chinese government for China's National Day (1st October). The reporter met several winners trying to understand their motivation for coming from afar to China and their experience here.

Alan G. MacDiarmid, the 2000 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry and a visiting professor at Jilin University, is one of the most prominent figures among the winners. A silver-haired scientist, humble as he has always been, he is especially revered in the group. He said to People's Daily Online: "I will spend the rest of my life contributing as much as I can to Jilin University and to China's science and technology development, to help China become the world leader in terms of science and technology". During an intermission of the activities I was washing hands, completely unaware that I was cutting in front of Alan G. MacDiarmid as he tried to reach for the paper tissue. Having found out that I stepped aside to give way to him who quickly wiped his hands and said to me "It is all yours."

Dr. Daniel J. Dudek, Chief Economist of the US Environmental Defense, has been working in China for more than 8 years. He was involved in the "4+3+1" project (four provinces - Jiangsu, Shandong, Shanxi, Henan; three cities - Shanghai, Tianjin, and Liuzhou; and one company - Huaneng Group) aimed at cutting SO2 emissions in China. The project has been successfully concluded in June. He is currently engaged in the Yangtze River Delta Initiative sponsored by People's Daily and Tsinghua University, an effort to achieve close environmental coordination in the region. After overcoming initial obstacles, both technical and emotional, Dr. Daniel J. Dudek and his wife (who have adopted two Chinese children) begin to see fruits of their efforts to bring market factors into China's emission reduction. He said the initial frustration has given way to a promising vision of pollution control in China.

Mr. David Stawbridge is a senior education advisor of Save the Children, which entered China in 1987 starting from training village health workers in Yunnan Province, then gradually extended its work to Anhui Province and Tibet Autonomous Region. In 1990 the organization launched its "Tibet basic education project", for which Mr. David worked since 1999.

The winners are only a small fraction of the foreign experts who work shoulder to shoulder with Chinese colleagues in their construction of a well-off society. English teachers account for a large percentage of the foreign experts working in China. In their daily work they bring about invisible yet substantial changes in China. They teach overseas advanced culture and knowledge to their Chinese students who, in turn, bring these to more Chinese.

Eddie Mills, president of International Education Exchange Association, has been teaching in China's Li and Miao minority-inhabiting areas since 1993. Connie Gibson sent by the English Language Institute (ELI) has taught several award-winning students at Jiangxi Normal University. These have come to China with no monetary motivation.

First established in the 1950s and restored in 1991 the Friendship Award is a state-level award set up to thank and commend outstanding foreign experts annually for their contributions to China's social development and economic, scientific, technological, educational and cultural construction. Among the 84 winners selected for the award this year 18 come from the United States, 10 from Britain, 9 from each of Germany and Japan, 5 from each of Russia and Holland, 4 from each of Canada, the Republic of Korea and France, 2 from each of Italy, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, 1 from each of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Spain, Thailand, India and Sierra Leone. They are engaged in various fields involving agriculture, energy sources, mechanical industry, electronic industry, petroleum, education, scientific research, medicine, tourism, journalism and publishing.

By People's Daily Online

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