Whistler’s China delegation nearly complete 

Whistler Forum will be at Canada/B.C. Paviliaion for Beijing Paralympics

Only a few spots remain on the Whistler Forum’s team to China, a Paralympic delegation that includes over 20 corridor residents bound first for Beijing and then for Shanghai.

“This is a Leadership Sea to Sky project that began last year with building a gateway from the Sea to Sky to the Asia Pacific,” said William Roberts, president of the Forum. “And out of that project, we said one thing we can do is begin by having two days in the Canada/B.C. Pavilion as a way to showcase all the things going on in Canada and the province. Out of all that, the group this year has programmed two really remarkable days. By virtue of the government paying for the space and marketing and so on, we just develop the program.”

The program has delegates landing in Beijing on Sept. 7. They’ll check into a hotel and get an orientation on the Paralympic Games. The following day, they’ll mobilize at the pavilion for a session on sustainable tourism.

“Day two is how we can develop our communities to have a tourist economic driver, but do it in a way that preserves an environmental, cultural and economic integrity.”

Day three builds on that theme, and then a spate of tours and official dinners begins, with delegates visiting the Great Wall and Games venues, among other venues. Dinners are scheduled with U.N. representatives, embassy officials and politicians.

The second leg of the journey begins on Sept. 15, with a bus to Shanghai. “I’ve made arrangements with this amazing China executive leadership centre, which is the leading centre in China for leadership training around transition and innovation,” Roberts said.

The seminars are called Government System and Decision-making process , Taoism and Attributes of Leadership and Shanghai Expo 2010- Better Cities, Better Life . They’re spread out over two days.

A dinner is also arranged with Canadian Consul General Susan Gregson, whose son is a local skier, on ramping up tourist relations between China and Whistler.

The Beijing leg of the trip is $2,900 for individuals, $4,600 per couple. The Shanghai portion is $4,900 per individual, $8,500 for couples. Costs include airfare, insurance, accommodations and meals.

Meanwhile, the Whistler Forum is hosting a special summer forum at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre Sunday, July 20 at 3 p.m.

Titled The Search for Shangri-la, the session will look at growing tourism and minority ethnic cultures in China and Canada. Special guests include Tsering Wangdu Shakya, Canadian Research Chair in Religion Contemporary Society in Asia, and Dr. Jack Patrick Hayes, of the Institute for Asia Research at UBC and Norwich University in Vermont.

All are welcome. A $10 donation is requested at the door.

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