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SCO bolsters people-to-people ties

By Mo Jingxi ( China Daily )

Updated: 2018-06-02

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Personal stories are living proof of strong relations between members

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is not just a political, economic and security organization, it also is about bringing people together - especially through art.

Fogelman Ferdinand, a 45-year-old Russian ballet dancer, is living proof of this.

Ferdinand, who has devoted his working life over the past two decades in Guangzhou to his art, including educating the public about dance, shared his story at the SCO's first media summit in Beijing on Friday.

He now teaches ballet at the Guangzhou Arts School and said he plans to stay in China.

"I'm willing to be a bridge of friendship between the two countries as a ballet ambassador," he said.

Invited by Guangzhou Ballet Troupe in September 1995, Ferdinand, then 22, left Moscow to become the first foreign dancer in the troupe.

It was not easy at the beginning, he said. His family did not understand his choice and even asked him not to return to Russia if he insisted on staying in China.

"I myself also thought about leaving China in the first three months due to differences in language and living habits," he said.

But things got better after he made friends, including meeting a woman from the troupe who became his wife in 1996.

They have a 10-year-old son named Victor who is fluent in Chinese and Russian. Every year, they visit Russia at least once, and Ferdinand's family also visits him in China quite often.

Ferdinand has decided to spend the rest of his life in Guangzhou and is also considering opening his own business, a dance studio.

"China and Russia are enjoying a good friendship. I think it is necessary to organize more exchanges between Russia and China in the fields of education and culture," he added.

Ferdinand was one of 10 people from China and other SCO member countries, including Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and India, to share their stories of friendly exchanges during the media summit.

Aray Aydarhan, a Chinese musician of Kazakh ethnicity, said he has dedicated his life to promoting music exchanges between China and Kazakhstan.

Aydarhan's rendition of the Kazakh song Tears of Dawn became popular among hundreds of millions of Chinese and enjoyed a new lease of life after a TV competition.

Aydarhan was so inspired when he first heard the song that he searched high and low for its composer. Though it was written 25 years ago, he happened to hear it first in 2014 in Kazakhstan and promised the composer, when he eventually found him, that he would perform it on stage in China.

Aydarhan made good on his promise by singing it in a televised music competition called Rising Star.

"Different countries can absolutely share peace and development despite differences in race, beliefs and culture. This is the valuable inspiration we have drawn from the ancient Silk Road," he said.


(China Daily 06/02/2018 page3)