Home >> Cultural Exchange

Rewarding exchanges

Updated: 2024-05-11 10:11 ( China Daily )
Share - WeChat
Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud, Saudi minister of culture, receives a painting gift from Peking University President Gong Qihuang in Beijing. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The Saudi Ministry of Culture announced the establishment of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Award for Cultural Cooperation in Beijing in spring. In a late April interview with China Daily, Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud said that the establishment of the bilateral cultural cooperation award will deepen ties and promote collaboration between the two nations across various sectors.

The award comprises four main categories: cultural research and studies, artistic and creative works, translations between Chinese and Arabic and cultural personality of the year, honoring individuals from each country who have significantly contributed through their creativity, knowledge, and leadership.

Additional categories such as young researcher, young creator and young translator have also been introduced to encourage young talent from Saudi Arabia and China to engage in cross-cultural communication.

Government entities, private institutions, or nonprofit organizations from the two countries, are all eligible to nominate candidates.

"The award is planned to be presented annually to active researchers, artists, linguists, translators, and others in the cultural field from both China and Saudi Arabia, in recognition of their contributions to cultural cooperation between the two countries, realizing the vision of deepening dialogue between the Chinese and Saudi civilizations," says the Saudi minister of culture.

He adds that the original intention of establishing this award is to promote further cultural exchange and integration between China and Saudi Arabia.

"We hope to introduce Saudi culture to China, while we're eager to bring Chinese culture to Saudi Arabia, sharing the achievements of both countries in academia, culture, literature and art during this mutual exchange process," he explains.

"Additionally, we aim to broaden the channels of cultural and creative production exchange between the two countries by encouraging research and supporting translation between Arabic and Chinese."

Consolidating and deepening cultural exchange and integration between Saudi Arabia and China is also an important component of the Saudi Vision 2030 (a roadmap for economic diversification and global engagement that enhances quality of life in Saudi Arabia), sharing a consistent and promising vision with China's Belt and Road Initiative, he states.

The award's primary objective is to encourage creative cooperation and foster a robust cultural dialogue between the two countries. It seeks to showcase the achievements of both countries to diverse communities, including academia, culture, media, literature and the arts and, by doing so, stimulate further collaboration and shared creative endeavors.

To support the work of the winners, the awards are accompanied by grants, according to the Saudi side. It will culminate in an annual ceremony celebrating the shared cultural talent of the two nations, and honoring winners in each category.

The award was announced during the visit by a delegation from the Saudi Ministry of Culture in late March.

"During the visit, we signed several bilateral agreements aimed at enhancing cooperation and cultural exchanges between the two countries. These agreements cover various cultural fields such as film, literature, publishing, museums, heritage, as well as exchanges in areas like theater and performing arts, visual arts, architecture and design, libraries, traditional arts and handicrafts," says the Saudi minister of culture.

"We are actively exploring more areas of cooperation, hoping to include a wider range of cultural collaboration projects in the future to deepen mutual understanding and appreciation between our two countries. At the same time, we will promote cultural heritage preservation, intellectual property rights protection, and support the development of digital cultural industries in both countries," he says.

Following the announcement of the award, a meeting was held between the Saudi minister of culture and Peking University President Gong Qihuang. The meeting emphasized Peking University's crucial role in advancing cultural collaboration between the two nations.

Ren Yuzhong, vice-president of Peking University, says that education is an integral part of cultural exchange and cooperation, and notes that the university established an Arabic language program in 1946, which has contributed significantly to fostering talent for promoting cultural exchange between the two nations.

"In recent years, Peking University has closely collaborated with several universities in Saudi Arabia, achieving significant results in talent cultivation and scientific research, thereby building bridges and ties to facilitate friendly exchanges between China and Saudi Arabia," Ren says, adding that a branch of the King Abdulaziz Public Library at the university is a fruitful result of years of bilateral friendship.

After more than six years of development since it opened to the public, the Beijing branch has established a rich and distinctive Arabic language literature resource system that is ranked among the highest in China in terms of the volume of its Arabic literature collection and industry cataloging data contributions, Ren says.

"It has continuously explored innovative service methods around teaching and research, providing strong support for the cultivation of Arabic language talent and Middle Eastern country studies at Peking University," he adds.

More than 100 academic and cultural events have been staged at the library, drawing in more than a million participants, which Ren says has deepened China-Arab exchanges.

Ren says he's looking forward to more people working in the cultural field being motivated by the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Award for Cultural Cooperation to create more cross-cultural masterpieces and compose new chapters for the prosperous development of cultural exchanges between the two countries.

Hot words
Most Popular