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December 16, 2010

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City top awards for foreign residents

TEN foreigners were yesterday presented with the Magnolia Gold Award, the city's top honor for expatriates.

The award by the Shanghai government was in recognition of their contributions to the city's social and economic development.

The recipients, from the United States, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Switzerland and Sweden, are top management with multinationals and scholars.

Mayor Han Zheng presented the honors, named after the city's flower, in City Hall.

Charles Humphrey Smith, 50, from the US, international division management director of Shanghai Juss Event Management Co, said he felt honored to be involved in the city's development.

Smith, who settled in Shanghai in 1998, organizes sporting events, and has attracted global audiences to the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament, one of the most successful events in the city's sporting calendar.

Vice Mayor Tang Dengjie expressed the city's and its citizens' gratitude to the foreigners for their contributions to the city.

"The people of Shanghai will remember your hard work and friendship," Tang said at the ceremony. "We hope that we can count on your active support to make Shanghai better."

The winners included two Chinese with foreign nationalities.

Chinese American Ni Jun, 49, dean of University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute, said he was happy and encouraged by the award.

Ni was first attracted to the city by one of its talents projects.

He was praised for helping raise the standard of mechanical engineering at Jiao Tong University and for the cooperation he helped foster between the Shanghai university and its American counterpart. This provides opportunities for local teachers to study abroad.

An award also went to Fan Zhijian, a 52-year-old Chinese German, president and CEO of Nokia Siemens Networks (Shanghai).

Under Fan's efforts, a production base has been set up in Shanghai and the technologies introduced have helped develop the city's information technology industry.

For Swede Torbjorn Sternsjo, 48, China managing director of Sapa Heat Transfer (Shanghai), this year's gold award was a step up from the Silver Magnolia he received last year.

"I'm very proud," said Sternsjo who has lived and worked in the city for 11 years. "Shanghai is becoming an international city."

Leong Wai Leng from Singapore, chairman of OCBC Bank (China), was the only female winner. She has set up an education fund in cooperation with the Soong Ching-ling Foundation to help children in disaster-hit areas.

Since the award was first presented in 1993, 235 foreigners have received the honor.


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