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Chengdu, Los Angeles build on cultural exchange

By LIU YINMENG in Los Angeles | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-11-14 04:01
A sugar painter works his craft as onlookers, including Magi Avila (center), watch with interest during the 2019 Los Angeles-Chengdu Culture and Innovation Exchange Series Events in Los Angeles on Nov 6. LIU YINMENG / CHINA DAILY

With a spoon in hand, a sugar painter spread melted brown sugar over a white canvas; soon enough, a dragon took shape, much to the delight of the audience. At the other end of the courtyard, a man beckoned visitors to try fresh, sizzling tea that he poured into ceramic cups using a long-spouted teapot.

The above display of "non-material cultural exchange" is an exhibition during the 2019 Los Angeles-Chengdu Culture and Innovation Exchange Series Events, which provided a platform for Angelenos to learn more about the "Home of Giant Panda" as officials from the two cities explored pathways for collaboration.

"The foundation for any type of relationship is being connected and talking more, and so, the fact that we are doing this is only one of the many good things that I hope will end up in the future as well," said Miguel Sangalang, the deputy mayor for budget and innovation for Los Angeles.

Sangalang said he was delighted to learn that Chengdu was the start of the Southern Silk Road. Los Angeles was the terminus of Route 66, a highway that served as the primary route for millions of Americans who migrated from the East Coast to the West Coast.

Duoyang Namu (left), chief director of the Chengdu Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism, and Miguel Sangalang, the deputy mayor of Los Angeles (right) examine Chinese artwork during the 2019 Los Angeles-Chengdu Culture and Innovation Exchange Series Events in Los Angeles on Nov 6. LIU YINMENG / CHINA DAILY

Wang Jin, culture consul at the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles, told the audience that Chengdu and Los Angeles enjoy enormous potential for cooperation, and that she hopes that through the event, people from both cities could take the opportunities to visit and learn about the other's vibrant culture.

"As you know, both China and the US are great nations with rich cultures and tourism resources, so the exchange in cooperation between our two countries is not only beneficial to the prosperity and the development of these industries themselves, but also to the promotion of mutual understanding and friendship between our peoples," Wang said.

US Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Judy Chu sent in greetings and their well wishes for a successful event.

A Chinese traditional dancer delights the audience during the 2019 Los Angeles-Chengdu Culture and Innovation Exchange Series Events in Los Angeles on Nov 6. LIU YINMENG / CHINA DAILY

"As a United States senator from the state of California, I applaud this endeavor and I welcome you all as you gather in Los Angeles to exchange ideas, explore opportunities and build bonds of friendship and mutual respect," wrote Feinstein in the letter shared by the organizer.

Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, is known for its long history, rich culture and spicy cuisine, as well as being the habitat of giant pandas. With a population of more than 16 million people, the city is one of the most populous in China and home to more than 270 Fortune 500 companies. Its distinctive culinary style earned the city recognition as a "city of gastronomy" by UNESCO.

As the world's entertainment capital, Los Angeles is also known for being the epicenter of culture, boasting more than 100 museums. It is a leading force in technology innovation and business.

The exchange between the two cities goes back a long way. In 2017, the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board announced it had opened its fourth tourism office in Chengdu.

In the same year, representatives from the Sister Cities of Los Angeles visited Chengdu to initiate the process for a sister city agreement with Chengdu's Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office.

The event, which took place on Nov 6, brought together numerous government leaders and business representatives as well as scholars from the US and China. Through presentations and discussions, officials shared best practices and innovative approaches for Los Angeles and Chengdu.

"I just love, love, love the opportunity, because I knew I was going to learn a whole lot more about China, and about the home of the pandas," said Magi Avila, an actress originally from Mexico.

Duoyang Namu, chief director of the Chengdu Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism, said that she hopes to enhance cooperation between the two cities in various fields, through cultural interactions and tourism exchanges.

"We also warmly welcome the people of Los Angeles and the US to travel, invest and start their businesses in Chengdu," she added.

The events were co-hosted by the Chengdu Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism, Chengdu Municipal Foreign Affairs office, and the Sino-American Friendship Association. They were supported by the Los Angeles mayor's office.

Contact the writer at teresaliu@chinadailyusa.com

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