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Wanda inks research deal with US university

By Zheng Yiran and Yang Jun in Danzhai, Guizhou ( China Daily )

Updated: 2018-06-14

Dalian Wanda Group has inked a deal with the University of Southern California, marking a step forward in the former's poverty alleviation undertakings in Southwest China's Guizhou province.

The Danzhai Wanda Village, one of Wanda's target poverty alleviation programs located in Danzhai county in Guizhou, signed a memorandum of understanding on June 2 with the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. Together they aim actively explore the potential for a broader partnership, including using the Wanda Village as a host location for a USC Sol Price School International Lab to conduct research into poverty alleviation.

Using the Wanda Village as a case study location, the two sides will also explore the potential to conduct USC Sol Price School faculty-led scholarly research on poverty alleviation in a global context. The Wanda Village will invite the USC Sol Price School to provide a rigorous assessment of the effectiveness of the project, and to offer constructive and practical advice for boosting Wanda's future poverty alleviation initiatives.

Eric J. Heikkila, director of USC Sol Price School's Office of Global Engagement, said: "One thing I would like to see happen, is to have a faculty member from USC bring a group of graduate students here, to develop this case study in a more methodical way.

"Three years ago, the United Nations enumerated 17 Sustainable Development Goals as benchmarks for global progress toward improving people's lives, with poverty alleviation being the first goal, aiming at eliminating poverty by 2030.

"Such an ambitious but worthy goal cannot be met by governments acting alone. This collaborative effort between Wanda Group and the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy is an example of how the private and academic sectors can contribute to the effort in a meaningful way, drawing upon their unique set of talents and resources."

Li Biao, deputy head of Danzhai county, said that since Wanda launched the village last June, more than 5 million people had visited the tourist spot, with an average of 19,000 per day, bringing a total of 2.5 billion yuan ($390 million) in tourism sales revenue to the county.

"The influence is not only economic, but it is also changing the business model of the local economy. Danzhai enjoys a good reputation now, and villagers are proud of working in Danzhai," Li said.

According to Chen Wanyong, general manager of the Danzhai Wanda Village, the first phase of the poverty alleviation project in the village involved an investment of 1.5 billion yuan, and the company plans to invest 800 million yuan into the next phase.

"We are glad to work with a world-class research institution on poverty alleviation, and will actively explore the potential to collaborate further.

"We welcome advice and insights from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy to help enhance our capability and effectiveness in poverty alleviation, to improve the lives of people in Danzhai. We look forward to working with the students and faculty members from USC," Chen said.

Contact the writers at zhengyiran@chinadaily.com.cn

 Wanda inks research deal with US university

Eric J. Heikkila, director of the Sol Sol Price School's Office of Global Engagement at the University of Southern California, plants a tree at Dalian Wanda Group's poverty alleviation tea garden in Danzhai county, Guizhou province. Provided to China Daily

(China Daily 06/14/2018 page18)

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