On September 8, 10 awardees from around the world received special golden-colored orchids in Beijing.
What they proudly took away were trophies in the shape of the celebrated flower. Initiated by China International Communications Group, a Beijing-based conglomerate with a mission to tell China's story to an international audience, the Orchid Awards aim to honor non-Chinese individuals and organizations committed to strengthening cultural exchange and mutual learning between China and the rest of the world.
In traditional Chinese culture, the orchid is known as the flower with a noble character. It is also a symbol of mutual respect, mutual learning, and harmony between peoples and between humans and nature. The name Orchid Awards is not only an elegant tribute to the achievements of the winners, but also an illustration of how and why China cements cultural bonds with other countries.
The 10 winners of the inaugural Orchid Awards come from different backgrounds and are engaged in a wide range of undertakings, such as music, Sinology, translation and directing, but what distinguishes all of them is their deep appreciation of Chinese culture, and their outstanding contributions to international exchange.
Amity between people holds the key to sound state-to-state relations, and building affinity requires increasing mutual understanding. In today's interconnected world, it is important to raise the awareness of cultural sensitivities and foster a global vision.
Nations around the world have created distinct civilizations, an overarching term that highlights material, cultural and intellectual development in a society. While they vary from one another, all of them are components of the human civilization and deserve equal respect. Moreover, they share a number of common values such as peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom.
The Global Civilizations Initiative proposed by China calls for letting exchange transcend estrangement, mutual learning transcend clashes and inclusiveness transcend any sense of superiority, principles that serve the fundamental interests of the international community.
The Orchid Awards have been initiated to encourage more people to devote themselves to international exchange as champions of unity in diversity and of removing barriers between peoples. At a time when the world is confronting dramatic changes, coupled with the threats of anti-globalization and populism, hopes are high that more advocates of this noble cause will come forward, speak up and defend the values we jointly hold dear.