5 Arima students get scholarships from Chinese Embassy

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Chinese ambassador Fang Qiu. –

FIVE students from the constituency of Arima were presented with scholarships worth $5,000 on June 12 at a ceremony held at Holy Cross College, Calvary Hill, Arima.

MP for Arima Pennelope Beckles said since its inception in 2022, 50 students have benefited from the Chinese Ambassador’s Scholarship Programme.

Chinese ambassador Fang Qiu said in 1974, Trinidad and Tobago and China developed diplomatic relations, with chairman Mao Zedong and PM Dr Eric Williams making the historic decision.

MP for Lopinot/Bon Air West Marvin Gonzales spoke at the ceremony and commended Williams’s decision.

“At that point in time, it was not the most popular thing to do.

“It was indeed brave for a small country like TT to take the brave step to forge relations.”

He said Williams’s “visionary leadership” was responsible for the benefits both countries have seen in the last 50 years and encouraged the five students also to display “visionary leadership.

“It is in your hands now to determine where we go 50 years from now.

“Are you going to maintain that strong tradition and nurture that strong diplomatic relation between TT and other countries so that 50 years from today we’ll have others like you benefiting from decisions that were taken in the best interest of Trinidad and Tobago.”

A range of activities have been ongoing for the last two months between the embassy and various ministries to commemorate the golden jubilee.

Qiu said the the two countries have had friendly exchanges for over 200 years and the expanding Chinese community has made a remarkable contribution to TT’s “social and economic development and the prosperity of its diverse culture, which lays down a solid foundation for the bilateral relations to flourish in modern times.”

Qiu began the scholarship programme to focus on empowering the youth – the future leaders of the world.

This year’s scholarship recipients were Ciara Evans, Johnson Finishing School; Jeremiah Fowler, Holy Cross College; Christopher Hosein, Arima Central Secondary; Sapphire Aaron, Blanchisseuse Secondary School; and Lei-Anna Valentine, of Aripo Village.

The criteria these five students met included showing resilience, outstanding academic performance, exemplary behaviour and a willingness to learn.

Beckles said the scholarships are intended not only to recognise individual accomplishments but to motivate all students in their studies to “embody the qualities for success to an increasingly interconnected world.

“Initiatives like this offer our students unique opportunities to become global citizens. That means understanding global issues, appreciating cultural diversity and realising how local actions can impact the world.”

Beckles emphasised the government is “determined” to improve the quality of education to help more students become “national treasures and global citizens” to benefit mankind.

She also thanked Qiu and China for their support of the scholarship programme.

“This initiative strengthens our academic community and reinforces our two nations’ longstanding friendship and co-operation.

“We look forward to continuing our collaboration on various initiatives, including poverty alleviation, climate change, digital economy, food security and more.”

To continue the 50-year celebrations, on June 18, the Chinese embassy will host a reception at the Chinese restaurant, National Academy of the Performing Arts (NAPA), and on June 20, a concert at the NAPA auditorium which will be free to the public.