'Magnolia expatriates' honored for outstanding contribution to the city
Fifty people from 18 countries were given the Magnolia Silver Award on Wednesday in recognition of their contribution to Shanghai’s development.
Among those recognized were senior managers of international companies, including Philips Electronics Technology, BASF (China) and Royal Caribbean International.
The expatriate contributions, made in the fields of business, finance, shipping, education, tourism, science, health, culture and international exchange, have injected strong vitality into the city, said Zhang Xiaosong, director-general of the city’s foreign affairs office, who presented the silver awards.
“Since the reform and opening-up policy was introduced, many foreigners have come here and participated in development of the city, making Shanghai their second home and actively promoting cooperation between Shanghai and the rest of the world in many fields,” Zhang said. “Shanghai’s prosperity also consists of the wisdom and sweat of award recipients.”
“These foreign friends have strived side by side with us and contributed their wits and sweat in promoting Shanghai’s innovation-driven development and economic transformation and upgrading, as well as building up a global center for scientific and technological innovation.”
Zhang added the Shanghai government is “grateful to them and wishes to have more foreign friends” to participate in the development in the city and build it into a global city of excellence.
He pointed out Shanghai was pioneering China’s efforts to promote innovation-driven development, as well as further reforms in opening up, and these provided good opportunities for foreigners.
Zhang urged expatriates to actively participate in the development of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, join in Shanghai’s efforts to build itself into an international cultural metropolis, a global hub for scientific and technological innovation, and a world center for economy, finance, trade and shipping.
He also called on them to support China’s Belt and Road initiative.
Michael Kruppe, general manager of Shanghai New International Expo Center Co, expressed his delight at receiving the award.
“I love you Shanghai! I love you Magnolia!” he said when giving a speech on behalf all this year’s award winners.
Kruppe came to Shanghai in 1989, the year the Magnolia Award was inaugurated by the city government to honor expats who have made an outstanding contribution to Shanghai.
A total of 1,109 foreigners have received the Magnolia Silver Awards since then.
During his first time in Shanghai, Kruppe viewed Pudong from the Peace Hotel and saw it was still virgin land. “Now 28 years later, Shanghai has become a world-class city, with the world’s tallest skyscrapers and longest elevated roads and subway lines.”
More and more multinational companies have settled here, he added, and “schools, hospitals and parks are everywhere in Shanghai, where people live and work in peace.”
The award has a special meaning for Gian Franco Terenzi, former Captain Regent of San Marino and now president of the San Marino-China Friendship Association, as it marked the 30th anniversary of his first visit to China and Shanghai as head of state in 1988.
He established the San Marino-China Friendship Association immediately after that visit and has been serving as its president since then, having organized many exchange programs between Shanghai and San Marino in the fields of economy, culture, sport and youth.
“It is my 55th time to visit China and I have also visited Shanghai more than 20 times,” he said. “Our exchanges have been so close and I believe our friendship will continue and deepen.”