During his recent official visit to China, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, signed an agreement with his Chinese counterpart, CAI Wu that is aimed at deepening and strengthening cultural cooperation between Barbados and China in the coming years.

The agreement is an update of the Barbados-China cultural cooperation agreement of 1980 and will facilitate reciprocal visits and exchanges by representatives of the cultural sectors of both countries.??

The visit came about after months of planning involving the Governments of China and Barbados and collaboration between the Chinese Embassy in Barbados and the Barbados Embassy in China.

After the signing, Minister Lashley noted that the agreement ???marks an important step forward in enhancing the relations between the two countries in the area of culture???.

He said: ???This is important for our peoples to get to know one another better and develop relations in all areas, including trade and commerce. In this regard, the new Cultural Industries Development Act empowers Barbados??? cultural sector to go abroad and compete internationally.???

The visit included discussion on cooperation in the area of fashion, heritage, animation and information technology, music, sports management and sporting infrastructure. Barbados??? Ambassador to China, His Excellency Dr. Chelston Brathwaite, is expected to follow up on the matters.

Mr. Lashley???s official visit coincided with the second Latin American and Caribbean Arts Festival held in Beijing from May 1 to 3. For the first time a group of Barbadian artistes were invited to participate in this festival. The group included musicians Anthony ???Gabby??? Carter, Hugh Walcott, Andre Forde and Nikita Browne and dancer/choreographer Gene Carson. Jeweller Angela Went exhibited items during the festival, which was also attended by Film Maker Lisa Harewood.

Following their performances, Mr. Lashley was full of praise for the quality of the acts and congratulated the artists for being excellent ambassadors for Barbados. He said that judging from the enthusiastic crowd response, the performances would serve to boost Barbados??? presence in the vast Chinese Market.

Additionally, Minister Lashley met with the China State General Administration for Sports.??He arrived in Beijing on April 29 and was accompanied by a delegation including the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Ruth Blackman and the Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation, Cranston Browne.

While in China, they visited cultural sites in Beijing and Shanghai and were hosted by Barbados??? Ambassador to China, Dr. Chelston Brathwaite, at an official reception at the Barbados Embassy in Beijing on April 30.


Author: Cathy Lashley/Barbados Embassy in China

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