Sino-US inter-pavilion cultural exchange reaches final stage

17:46, October 27, 2010      

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The two-month cultural exchange program between the USA Pavilion and China's provincial pavilions on Oct. 20 reached its final stage as the USA Pavilion and the Shanghai Pavilion swapped personnel to serve at each other's pavilions.

The Sino-US inter-pavilion cultural exchange program was launched on Aug. 10 when the USA Pavilion sent two student ambassadors to the Guangdong Pavilion to serve as guest staff for one day, while the Guangdong side sent two staff members to work as guides at the USA Pavilion.

There have been several such activities after the inauguration, including exchanges with the pavilions of Beijing, Sichuan, Jiangsu, Inner Mongolia, Anhui, and Guizhou. Today's closing ceremony marked the eighth and a total of 16 American student ambassadors, mostly college students, and 16 Chinese young volunteers from various corners of the country were involved.

Aiming to promote cultural discourse between the two nations, the initiative provides opportunities for the American students to experience the local customs and practices of China's various regions and ethnic groups at provincial pavilions. Their Chinese counterparts have also found the values of the cultural diversity of the American people at the USA Pavilion.

"Through these meaningful staff exchanges our American young people have not only witnessed with our naked eyes the richness and exquisiteness of cultures, traditions and achievements of all the eight Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, but also understood the characters and merits of the Chinese people and gained a better knowledge of China," said Martin Alintuck, President and CEO of USA Pavilion, "We are pleased to join hands with all the Chinese provincial pavilions to bring about this groundbreaking program at Shanghai Expo that has truly represented the quintessence of World Expo themes—understanding, communication and community."

Alice Hu and Andy Chan, working as exhibition guides at the Shanghai Pavilion today, were among the 16 USA Pavilion student ambassadors who reaped knowledge and friendship from the experiences at the eight provincial pavilions.

USA Pavilion's student ambassador Mary Anne McElroy wrote in her blog after one day's working at Jiangsu Pavilion introducing embroidery artwork: "I knew little about Jiangsu other than what I had seen in the beautiful water town Suzhou and the historical Nanjing. Walking out of the Jiangsu pavilion after a day of representing the province's rich culture and history, I feel almost like an expert in Jiangsu's special arts, landmarks and more importantly the character of its people. The cultural program provides the best way for us to really learn about a place in China."

Student ambassador Katlyn Jones' experience at the Beijing Pavilion was fun as well as a discovery of common points and interests between the two peoples. She enjoyed the hospitality of the Beijing friends and held high the Beijing Olympic torch inside the pavilion. She even found that Chinese youngsters like playing the same games, such as "Categories," as the Americans do.

She was also unofficially working at an "entertainment section" of the Pavilion where she got asked by more than 100 visitors to take photos with them. "I've never been more popular," Jones said.

By Yan Meng, People's Daily Online


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