Wu Zhiliang, president of Macao Foundation, encourages Macao people to actively promote Macao's culture. (PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
HONG KONG-More local people should be engaged in promoting Macao's rich culture to the world, as they are the ones who know the most about the special administrative region.
Wu Zhiliang, president of the Macao Foundation, made those remarks as a delegate to the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in Beijing.
The conference, which runs from Wednesday to May 22, promotes cultural diversity, exchanges and mutual learning. It is expected to attract more than 2,000 government officials and representatives from 47 countries and regions.
Wu, a seasoned historian and Macao member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said Macao has much to offer tourists besides gambling. The former Portuguese colony is a cultural crossroads of East and West, with a diverse population, languages, religions and festivals, he said.
Owing to the blending of the SAR's diverse cultures, the Historic Center of Macao, which includes 25 historic locations, was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2005.
To better present Macao's uniqueness to the world, Wu encouraged more local people to engage in promoting it, as they have natural advantages, given their familiarity with the SAR.
In particular, scholars and artists, especially those with global influence, could take advantage of their achievements to showcase the charm of Macao's culture through people-to-people exchanges, Wu said.
In addition, the city's young people, who represent the city's vitality and future, should also play a role in it, Wu said.
With the growing international influence of Macao's culture, Wu believes more tourists will be attracted to the city, and cultural tourism may become a new force driving the city's economy. It will fuel the city's goal to transform itself into a more diversified economy for its sustainable development.
Wu suggested Macao people take advantages of the favorable policies offered by the central government and actively participate in cross-culture communication programs.
In July 2018, the China National Arts Fund announced that it will accept applications for grants from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan arts practitioners.
Under a program launched by the Macao Foundation and the Macao SAR government in 2016, more than 3,300 Macao youths have visited mainland cities, getting firsthand knowledge of the nation's development.
The foundation also launched a scholarship program in 2017 with the aim to enhance exchanges between Macao students and those from countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. The five-year scholarship program plans to offer 150 opportunities for exchanges.
With the city's deeper integration into the country, Wu also believes there will be more facilitation in enhancing cultural communication between Macao and the mainland, especially in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
It is expected that more policies aiming to enhance cultural exchanges and collaborations among arts organizations, schools and cultural institutions in the Bay Area will be rolled out, according to the development outline for the 11-city cluster.