Chinese Ambassador Fang Qiu, from left, Karishma Ramdial of San Fernando West Secondary School, Daniel Garcia of St Paul’s Boys’Anglican Primary School, Naomi Brown of Open Bible High School and San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello at City Hall, San Fernando where the students received scholarships from the ambassador on Friday. Photo by Yvonne Webb
Chinese Ambassador Fang Qiu transformed one of his greatest desires into reality, when he presented three San Fernando students with scholarships on Friday morning.
“This helps to turn one of my wishes to reality,” he said at an awards ceremony held at City Auditorium, San Fernando.
He thanked mayor Junia Regrello for his response to establishing the first Chinese Ambassador Scholarship, in collaboration with the San Fernando City Corporation. He also thanked educators on whose shoulders, he said, lies the future of this country as well as the awardees for their excellence.
“It is my pleasure to be here today to present the very first Chinese Ambassador Scholarship to three outstanding students of San Fernando – Karishma Ramdial of San Fernando West Secondary School, Naomi Brown of Open Bible High School and Daniel Garcia, a student of St Paul’s Anglican Primary School.
Their progress will be monitored and further assistance would be provided once they continue to show potential.
“I am happy to see that China and Trinidad and Tobago (TT) hold the same view on education, and have placed education as an integral part of our bilateral cooperation.
“Over the years, many of TT’s top students have studied in China with the Chinese Government Scholarship and have become young envoys of our two cultures.”Recently, China announced it will provide more government scholarships to Caribbean countries including TT and Qiu said it is his sincere hope more TT students will have the chance to visit China and experience the Chinese culture one day.
“The awardees today will of course, be our first choices.”
As ambassadors, he said one of his strongest wishes is to further promote the long-standing and well-established friendship between China and TT.
“A friendship that has withstood the trials of hardship and is growing ever stronger as time goes by. In the hard times of the pandemic, we have been fighting shoulder by shoulder and our bond of friendship has been further strengthened. No one is an isolated island in today’s world. Solidarity and co-operation are indispensable to overcoming the difficulties facing us.”
Practical cooperation between the two countries, he said, has witnessed rapid growth and yielded fruitful results. He drew as an example, the Southern Academy of the Performing Arts (SAPA), built by a Chinese company, which has become a local landmark and an important hub for cultural exchanges.
“TT is the first English-speaking Caribbean country to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative. The first BRI project, the Phoenix Park Industrial Estate, not far from San Fernando, is to be completed after this year, and is set to inject new impetus to the social economic development of TT and benefit more people.”
He said the two countries are also working closely to explore potential of cooperation under the framework of the Global Development Initiative (GDI) which was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping last year, to pool international strength to foster more robust, greener and more balanced global development.
“As the GDI shares high convergence to TT’s development strategy, I have no doubt that it could bring more opportunities to China-TT practical cooperation.
Referencing his wishes he said another is to make friends with people of this country.
“As we all know, affinity between peoples is the foundation of state-to-state relations and the trees of our friendship has its roots in our younger generations.
“The only way to build a stronger self and a stronger nation is education which, as President Xi Jinping points out, holds the key to the realisation of the two centenary goals and the fulfilment of the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
Regrello welcomed the initiative saying while both China and TT subscribe to the view that education is one of the most powerful tools in poverty eradication, too often brilliant children fall by the wayside due to their financial circumstances.
“This is where scholarships and mutual development relationships, such as the one between the SFCC and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China become a beacon of opportunity.
“It is quite often we focus on the achievements made by our more prestigious schools in San Fernando, without recognizing the amazing, untapped potential of others in our city. It see so much potential in all our students and how often amazing and talented children are sometimes overlooked.
“We hope this will be the first of many scholarships provided by His Excellency Fang Qiu as these scholarships will be given to some of the hardest working and most deserving students in San Fernando.”