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Dialogue between Global Philanthropy Leaders (GPL) and Obama’s Sister Maya: Philanthropy, Education and Cultural Exchange


Dialogue between Global Philanthropy Leaders (GPL) and Obama's Sister Maya: Philanthropy, Education and Cultural Exchange

CGPI (China Global Philanthropy Institute) had the honor to invite Ms. Maya and her delegation to visit the Institute on the afternoon of June 20, 2016. This is Maya’s third visit to China. She emphasized the intensity of her bond with China and declared herself a Chinese daughter-in-law, as her husband is a Canadian Chinese, and one of her daughters was born in Nanchang, Jiangxi. “I’m very happy that we could create a bridge connecting the U.S. and China.”

Sponsored by CGPI, this dialogue invited the guests including Ms. Maya, Carol M. Fox, Director for Special Projects at the East-West Center and Dr. Wang Qinghong, Liaison Director of China Affairs at the East-West Center. GPL students and EMP representatives were present. Chaired by the CGPI President Wang Zhenyao, the dialogue, themed on “Philanthropy, Education and Cultural Exchange”, rolled on in a friendly and amicable atmosphere.

Sow the Seeds of Peace

As the initiator of Seeds of Peace, a program using all-covered, 360° methodologies to foster leading peace builders, Maya believes in three key focuses for accomplishing such a process: First, on forging the leadership potential. A considerable part of her courses is to instruct the youth on exploring their own potential leadership and developing that quality through personal involvement; second, on exchange. In her opinion, peace building is a broad idea that covers equality, personal innermost tranquility, social philanthropy and conflict solution and more. Therefore, everyone plays a different role in this cause, and the effort and power from them will ultimately help create a better community; third, on the extension of social innovation. She believes when we’re expanding and practicing philanthropy, we should be aware of the fact our leadership stretches far beyond our neighborhood, cities and countries.

The East -West Center Cooperates with CGPI on Building the Philanthropic Bridge

Two of her entourages, Carol M. Fox and Wang Qinghong are long dedicated to promoting China-US relations, especially East-West cultural exchange and philanthropic transmission. They are respectively the Director for Special Projects and Liaison Director of China Affairs at the East-West Center, and have made impressive contributions to East-West philanthropic exchange. Over the last six years, the Center, while promoting the great cause of East-West philanthropic exchange, has established together with the team led by President Wang Zhenyao the bridge for friendly exchange between philanthropists in both countries.

Carol M. Fox shared her opinion on that, “Six years passed and we are a big family now, where we share the same goal, and we get along with each other like family members. Sometimes we disagree, but communication helps eliminate our differences and encourages us to work harder. We care about each other, and I know we are moving towards the same direction. I’ve learned so many instructive things from my Chinese co-workers and President Wang.”

Dr. Wang Qinghong said, “The East-West Philanthropy Forum has held three annual summits since 2014, in the January of 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively, and received many supports from Chinese philanthropists. The main financing organizations include Lao Niu Foundation, Beijing Qiaonv Foundation, Heren Charity Foundation and Huamin Charity Foundation, etc.”

Promotion of East-West Cultural Exchange: Understanding and Respect of Pluralism

CGPI and the East-West Center not only work together on East-West philanthropic interaction, but also try their best to promote the cultural exchange. Maya and Carol M. Fox both emphasize the importance of understanding and respect of pluralism in cross-culture exchanges. 

Maya cited America as an example, “America is a very pluralistic country. If we interpret it in a simple perspective, that’ll be unworkable and insufficient. There are multi-dimension and complicated situations in the country, which is similar to that in China. So, it’s also wrong if you try to interpret China in the same easy way. I believe one of the shared responsibilities for us present is to deepen our understanding of such diversity and complexity, and to tell all people we know that, China is a multi-level, complicated country that should be comprehended in multiple views. So I hope we can use patience at first, and secondly, carry out the most effective communication that allows the world to get to know our situations and China’s diversity and pluralistic culture. I think that’s a task laid upon both of us.”

Based on her personal experience, Carol M. Fox noted, “As you grow older, you start to wonder how and where the world is going. That is exactly my case. I’m worrying about hatred and extremism particularly. I heard a saying that you have fear for the person who is a stranger to you. Such fear leads to hatred, and the hatred leads to poisoning or killing. Whenever we think of that word, it makes us tremble. So, where is the solution to that problem? We can try to know each other better. It’s clearly insufficient and even shallow to talk about friendship without mentioning real, thorough understanding, which takes time and communication over the work we’re doing together. ‘You have to do more work better and faster.’ That’s the motto of my ex-boss, and now I share that with you –do more work better and faster!”

GPL Cultivation: “Goodness” and “Elegance”

The East-West Center and the team led by President Wang Zhenyao continue to forge ahead during the philanthropic promotion and cultural exchange, committing itself to training GPLs with “world vision, Chinese and international wisdom, sense of responsibility and determination to innovate”. For six years the team led by Wang Zhenyao has been consistently promoting East-West philanthropic exchange and cooperation by holding philanthropic exchange activities, workshop and philanthropic summit.

CGPI’s students of Global Philanthropy Leaders Program also were present to witness this grand East-West exchange on philanthropy. Global Philanthropy Leaders Program is the first philanthropy program targeting China’s High Networth Individuals, launched by the co-efforts from global famous institutions such as the East-West Center, John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Sino-French Cultural Art Research Center and SI-UK Education Council, aiming to provide students with top-rated education resources and access to international exchange, study and network, and customized, individualized consultations on philanthropic strategy and take lead in facilitating the perfect combination of “goodness” and “elegance”. 


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