Cultural exchanges become spiritual link among SCO countries
This year's Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit is ongoing in Qingdao. The organization is not just a political, security and economic group, but it's also about bringing people together - especially through cultural exchanges.
Cultural cooperation among SCO member states has made remarkable progress since the organization's establishment.
Song Jingwu, Vice President of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, says the SCO member states are paying more attention to promoting regional cultural cooperation and mutual understanding among their peoples.
"The SCO consists of different countries, with different religious background and cultures, as well as of different development levels. So people-to-people and cultural exchanges are necessary to boost the peoples' common will for cooperation," says Song.
The core values of the SCO are featured in the Shanghai Spirit, which includes mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development.
The Shanghai Spirit has stimulated the member states to cooperate and ensured the development of the SCO.
Olim Alimov, a Tajik doing business in China and co-founder of the SCO Youth League, explains his understanding of the Shanghai Spirit.
"Shanghai Spirit talks about connectivity, consultations, talks about respect for one another, how people can achieve results through consensus. That's why SCO is one of the most important regional organizations. It is a perfect platform for grassroots initiative to come together, connecting the hearts and minds and especially intellectual side of it," says Alimov.
China and other member states are working on deepening cooperation with one another in security, economy and people-to-people exchanges, to bring more benefits to people from various countries and usher in a brighter future for the SCO.
"Pakistan firmly believes that only cooperation amongst the member states through cultural exchange can help us to overcome our common challenges, which are being faced today. Pakistan fully stands with China and other member states for pushing forward the people-to-people contact to the cultural exchanges," explains Khalid Taimur Akram, Executive Director of Center for Global and Strategic Studies in Pakistan.
Experts say the diversified people-to-people exchanges and cooperation among SCO member states show that bilateral and multilateral cooperation are growing deeper and wider.