50 foreigners given Magnolia Silver Award
Fifty people from 19 countries were given the Magnolia Silver Award yesterday in recognition of their contribution to Shanghai’s development.
Those recognized include senior managers of companies, such as Shanghai Roche Pharmaceuticals, Michelin China, Royal Philips and Disney, as well as scientists, musicians and teachers.
Their contributions, made in the fields of business, finance, science, education, culture and health, have injected vitality into the city and its development, Zhang Xiaosong, director-general of the city foreign affairs office, said at the awards ceremony.
Since 1989, the Magnolia Silver Award, Magnolia Gold Award and Honorary Citizenship have recognized foreigners’ contributions to the city and are now the highest honors for workers from overseas. Over 1,000 of them have received the silver award. Recipients have generally lived and worked in the city for many years, actively promoting cooperation and exchanges between Shanghai and the rest of the world.
“Since reform and opening up began 40 years ago, many foreigners have come to Shanghai,” Zhang said. “The city’s prosperity relies on the support of these friends from overseas.”
He extended the gratitude of citizens to this year’s winners, saying they have not only made enormous contributions to Shanghai but served as role models for others who leave distant homes to come to live and work in the city.
He pointed out the great opportunities in Shanghai as it builds itself into an international metropolis of excellence, a global center for science and technology, and a world hub for finance, trade and shipping.
He called for more foreigners to join with locals to build a brighter future.
This year’s oldest award winner is Ronald Harold Ball, chairman of EHC Escalator Handrail (Shanghai) Co. The 76-year-old Canadian has lived and worked here for 22 years. His company has created a lot of jobs and he has been very active in charity events.
Ball said he thought of himself as a Shanghainese.
“I’ve been here that long and made my little contribution to the growth and prosperity of the city. So I think of this city now as my city. I’m delighted to be recognized,” he told Shanghai Daily.
“I have seen many changes here and I’m really impressed by the tremendous ability of the city leaders to be able to maintain the great quality and the essence of the city, which is prosperity and safety,” he added.
“Shanghai is a great city to do business and raise a family in. We are delighted to be here.”
Jan Ruzicka, 33, special envoy for foreign relations of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic, is the youngest recipient this year. He has been serving as a bridge in health care cooperation between China and the Czech Republic since November 2012 when he led a delegation to promote bilateral cooperation in health.
Through his efforts, the foreign relations division of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic signed an MOU with Shanghai Commission of Health and Family Planning.
Several hospitals have cooperation programs with counterparts in the republic.
“I think Shanghai is maybe the most beautiful city in the world, with eastern and western cultures mixed, as well as modernity and tradition. There is good mixture here,” he said.
“And the people here are very gentle and nice.”
He said that after seven years, health care cooperation was expected to expand, especially through the Belt and Road Initiative.
“Our cooperation will be only get stronger and only go deeper,” he said.