New association hopes to promote youth integration across borders

A new association hopes to promote cultural exchange among students in the Guangdong-Hong Kong- Macau Greater Bay Area.

The purpose behind the newly-created Association for Cultural Integration Among Youth in the GBA is to “let kids in Macau and Hong Kong have a better understanding of China and the Greater Bay Area,” according to association chairman Calvin Iao, who was interviewed yesterday by the Times.

In order to achieve its goal, the association will set up cultural exchange bases in Macau and other Greater Bay cities.

As of today, the organization has already opened one base in Macau in cooperation with role-play adventure park Planet J.

Planet J and the association are jointly curating a cultural exchange base that covers an area of about 10,000 square meters. The base consists of nine different theme parks and has more than 200 pieces of equipment.

Many of the association’s activities are planned to be organized inside Planet J.

In the long-term, 100 cultural exchange bases are planned. These will be set up over the next five years in various mainland cities, including Zhuhai, Jiangmen and Shenzhen.

These bases will play a role in connecting children from 11 cities, helping to send mainland children to Macau and Hong Kong, and Macau and Hong Kong children to mainland China.

The program will be largely run in cooperation with schools and enterprises in mainland Greater Bay cities. The cultural exchanges will mainly focus on education, science, art and technology.

“So far, we have three or four groups interested in the program,” said Iao, adding “they are already pretty active in mainland China. More of these are associated with the arts. We expect towards the end of the year and next year hopefully there are a lot of functions and competitions.”

With respect to short-term plans, the association wants to hold two contests this year prior to the anniversary of the Macau handover, a cooking competition and a speech contest with the participating children introducing the city they represent.

“The cooking competition is about sharing the 5,000 years of history of Chinese culture,” said Iao. “Through the cooking contest, we can spread the message of keeping our history alive and keeping our culture alive.”   

The cooking contest is planned to be organized annually and it is hoped that it will become an international contest in the future.

Meanwhile, “for the speech contest, the kids will talk about their city, their culture and everything combined.” 

As of today, Macau has approximately 9,000 associations. Some of these associations also promote communication between mainland and Macau youth.

Comparing his association with other similar associations in Macau, Iao said that his is “not trying to be the best or better than any other group.” 

“We just try to do one thing at a time in the best possible way. If we are doing a cooking contest, we want to do the best one,” said Iao.

Besides organizing the two contests, the association is already working with several other organizations in mainland China, such as Tencent. The association hopes that more exchange activities and internship opportunities can be provided to the children through its cooperation with Tencent.

The target age group for the association is 7 to 15 years old. The association hopes to create some platforms, such as a cultural platform, an educational platform, a sports platform and other platforms to engage GBA youth, so that young people from Macau and other Greater Bay cities can understand each other’s culture better.

In the long term, the organization will likely implement a series of development plans, such as a corporate membership development plan.

Categories Macau