Carrying Subnational Panda Diplomacy in the 21st Century

This week, the Bay Area Council celebrated a longstanding Chinese foreign policy tradition by promoting dialogue and peaceful intercultural exchanges at the 2019 Basi Cultural Forum. Organized by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), the event focused on the symbolic story of Basi, China’s longest living panda who spent 100 days at the San Diego Zoo in 1987 and became a renowned mascot for peace across the country before passing away at the remarkable age of 37 in 2017. Council Global Initiative Manager Laurent Arribe offered remarks alongside San Diego Zoo President Paul Baribault and Walt Disney China’s Head of Government Affairs Guo Zhong to support the forum’s theme of a “Culture of Peace, Shared by the World.”

Both CPAFFC President, Madame Li Xiaolin, and former US Senator Mark Kirk from Illinois gave keynote speeches to the more than 200 attendees across sports, arts, and business spheres gathered in Basi’s home, the city of Fuzhou. This new public platform, welcomed by Fujian Provincial Vice Governor Guo, serves as a reminder that our regions have been tested by far greater challenges than those we face today, and provides an opportunity to celebrate our nations’ shared history and relationship. To learn more about the Bay Area Council’s China work, please contact Chief of Global Business Development Del Christensen.

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