The 19th Beijing International Book Fair opened on August 28. Six people won awards for special contributions to Chinese publishing.
Since 2005, the General Administration of Press and Publication of China has awarded foreign writers, translators and publishers who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of Chinese culture to the world.
On August 29, Ambassador Joseph Verner Reed, Under-Secretary-General of the UN, shared his thoughts on receiving the award with Beijing Review. He discussed The Culture and Civilization of China, published by Yale University Press and the China International Publishing Group. Reed has been involved in the project for 23 years.
"I'm delighted to be back in Beijing and delighted to be participating in this interview. It's a great honor. My goodness! I was so pleased to be a recipient of the award along with my friend and colleague President Richard Levin of the Yale University, who was represented by Professor Tian who came from New Haven. President Levin couldn't come because this is the beginning of the school year," he said.
"And I congratulate everybody who participated and also my fellow recipients of the award from Germany, South Korea, and Spain. That's wonderful," he continued.
"I'm a great admirer of the People's Republic of China. I made my first visit here with David Rockefeller as the guest of former Chinese Vice Premier Huang Hua in 1973," he added.
Launched in 1990, the planned series covers topics concerning Chinese culture ranging from painting, sculpture, calligraphy, ceramics and silks to architecture and ancient philosophy.
"It is the largest publishing project beside the encyclopedia. The first book was on Chinese painting. It was so beautiful. It won a Hawkins Prize, which is the highest prize in publishing, equivalent to the Nobel Prize. It was a state gift of the People's Republic of China to the peoples in the U.S. when then President Jiang Zemin came to his state visit to the U.S. He presented it to President Bill Clinton," he noted.
"This is a platform for both countries to look for further cultural exchange, for promoting peace and harmony, and relationships, understanding between the two countries. This series will benefit generations in understanding Chinese civilization and culture," he said.