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First step for China/Canada partnership

Whistler Forum hosts eminent Harvard Professor for series of discussions about China

Think beyond this little resort municipality, the Sea to Sky corridor, the province of B.C. and even beyond Canada.

Think instead of a powerful nation miles away, which is changing global dynamics every day – China.

Though geographically worlds apart, a unique opportunity hosted by the Whistler Forum is bringing China and Canada closer together, for four days at least.

From Thursday, May 5 to Sunday, May 8 a number of study sessions with Harvard Professor Tu Weiming will offer a glimpse into Chinese views, culture and feminist thought.

It could be the beginning of a budding partnership between the resort municipality of 10,000 people and a booming world powerhouse of 1 billion citizens.

For William Roberts, executive director of the Whistler Forum it's a critical step for this small but global community, which welcomes visitors from around the world. It's even more important these days as China recently granted Canada approved destination status, opening the gates for Chinese tourists to Canada in the years to come.

"A better global understanding is essential to the growth and vitality of Whistler as a community," said Roberts.

The Whistler Forum, spearheaded by Roberts, is committed to encouraging and engaging citizens in dialogue, whether it be about the upcoming provincial election platforms or the Chinese views of leadership with modern western influences.

The key is to listen, to dialogue, to learn and understand and ultimately be richer for the experience.

Under that guise, the Whistler Forum is putting the building blocks in place for emerging local leaders to begin to dialogue with emerging leaders in China.

"If we don't know more about China and have stronger relations with them, we're going to be left behind," said Roberts.

It begins next week with a once in a lifetime experience to learn more about China.

Tu Weiming will kick start discussions on a variety of topics including: Understanding Leadership in a Chinese Cultural Context and Chinese Views of Leadership with Modern Western Influences.

Ultimately Roberts hopes this is the stepping stone for a leadership program between the two countries where roughly 10 emerging leaders from each country will work over the course of a year to understand more about the other culture.

"They can learn from us and we can learn a whole lot from them," said Roberts.

To reserve a space in any one or more of the six sessions e-mail by Saturday April 30. Log on to for more details.