Chen Tao gives an speech on the opening ceremony of Beijing International Forum on People-to-People Friendship

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Respected Madam He Luli,

Respected Mr. Prodi,

Dear friends, Ladies and Gentleman,

Good morning!

Today, Beijing International Forum on People to People Friendship hosted by Beijing People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and other organizers has officially opened. I have the honor, on behalf of the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs, to take this opportunity to express my warm congratulations to the opening of the forum and sincere gratitude to Mr. Prodi who accepted the invitation to attend the forum.

The Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA) was founded in December 1949 on the initiative of the late Premier Zhou Enlai, the first of its kind devoted to people-to-people diplomacy after the founding of New China. The purposes of CPIFA are to enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese people and the people of all other countries, promoting the establishment and development of friendly relations and cooperation between China and other countries and making contributions to peace, harmony, development and cooperation of the world. It has maintained wide contacts with well-known statesmen and diplomats (including former heads of state, former heads of government and foreign ministers, members of parliaments, leaders of political parties and leaders of some countries that have not established diplomatic relations with China), as well as public figures, prominent entrepreneurs, famous research institutions on international issues and scholars of more than 120 countries in the world, and established some bilateral or multilateral exchange mechanisms with the relevant institutions in some countries, promoting to a great extent the scientific development of people's diplomacy.

At the requirement of Beijing People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and other organizers, we have invited Mr. Romano Prodi, former Italian Prime Minister and former chairman of the European Union, to attend the opening ceremony of Beijing International Forum on People to People Friendship during his stay in Beijing. It is a good example of how we bring into full play the advantages of our institution to establish and develop contacts and exchanges with foreign political activists and social celebrities. It is also an important initiative that we actively involved in assisting organizing Beijing International Forum on People to People Friendship, matchmaking for relevant organizations, and promoting exchanges, cooperation and common development. In the future, we will continue cooperating with Beijing People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and other relevant organizations so as to make our due contributions to the promotion of people's diplomacy and demonstration of a good image of Beijing and China.

Finally, I wish Beijing International Forum on People to People Friendship a complete success!

Thank you.

Mr. Chen Tao, Vice President of Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs

September 6th, 2011

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