Fen Xu, Deputy Secretary General for Utah-Qinghai EcoPartnership; Franz Kolb, Director – International Trade and Diplomacy, Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development; Chris Ireland, University of Utah Chief Global Officer; and Cheri Daily, Director of External Relations and Global Programs for the University of Utah Office for Global Engagement help welcome a donation of 10,000 masks from Sichuan China
10,000 PPE MASKS GIFTED TO THE U
Donated by Sichuan Forestry and Grassland Provincial Bureau in China
The shipment of 10,000 masks arrived Thursday, April 30, 2020, the boxes scribed with messages of solidarity and friendship alongside a panda graphic—Sichuan’s provincial icon and a traditional symbol of peace and good luck. They will be used to protect healthcare providers, patients and visitors to the U’s healthcare facilities.
“We are very grateful for this act of generosity and friendship by the Sichuan Provincial Forestry and Grassland Bureau,” said Ruth V. Watkins, president of the University of Utah. “It underscores the long-term partnership the university and the Sichuan Province have developed to train national park administrators in best practices. It also signals what I hope will be an ongoing collaboration. We want the people in Sichuan Province to know their gift is deeply appreciated.”
The State of Utah and the University of Utah both maintain long-held collaborative relationships with China.
The U is in its second year of training Chinese land management officials and, last fall, 17 administrators from Sichuan Forestry and Grassland Bureau attended the U’s second China National Parks training program. The multidisciplinary course, organized by the Office for Global Engagement and the department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, was designed to assist the building and management of a new parks program in China through education of best practices honed in the United States over the past 150 years.
The U has also trained hundreds of athletic coaches from across China through its Pac-12 China Coaches Training Program since 2016—including several coaches from Sichuan. The educational program teaches coaching techniques for men and women’s sports including basketball, track and field, swimming and cheerleading.
As recently as Oct. 2019, representatives from the Office for Global Engagement traveled to China carrying a formal declaration of friendship from Governor Gary Herbert to participate in a formal Friendship Celebration, symbolizing the warm relationship between the state of Utah and Sichuan.
This type of long-term collaboration has initiated close personal relationships and, as COVID-19 has challenged countries across the globe, Sichuan leaders sought out ways to support their friends in Utah. “This is truly about people helping people and it’s the result of long-standing relationships. We are very grateful,” said Franz Kolb, Director for International Trade and Diplomacy with Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development.