On 13 December 2017 the SCO Women's Club held its regular meeting. Spouses of SCO ambassadors and diplomats as well as female representatives of the SCO Secretariat and honourary members of the club met for the holiday event at the China Culture Centre.
The club chairwoman, the SCO Secretary-General's wife, Zamira Asimova, discussed the current activities and plans for the next year with those in attendance in informal settings over fragrant Yunnan coffee and pu'er tea.
Feng Cheng, Director of the China Culture Centre, offered his heartfelt welcome to the guests and invited the club to use the venue for cultural and educational events that would promote the cultural dialogue and exchange between the women of the SCO member states.
Welcoming the initiative, the SCO Secretary-General noted that the "meetings in the very heart of Beijing, at the China Culture Centre, will help them to better understand the multi-layered Chinese culture and civilisation as well as its links with the rich and the unique culture and arts of the other SCO peoples."
Rashid Alimov added that "the SCO space stretches from the Arctic to the Indian Ocean, from the Pacific Ocean to the Barents Sea, and has almost half the world's population and 50 percent of them are women."
"2017 has been special for the organisation as our family was joined by two more members, India and Pakistan. All world religions and an enormous variety of cultures are represented in the SCO. We are extremely rich people and our wealth is in the abundant history and unique culture of each nation. We are different and, at the same time, we stay together, united by a confidence in our joint development and belief in a common better future," the Secretary-General stressed.
The event programme included presentations by prominent masters of traditional Chinese crafts. The club members and guests met with the ‘queen' of Chinese Suzhou embroidery Yao Jianpin, Yixing clay teapot maker Gu Xiujian and famous Chinese calligrapher Hai Weng. Several prominent fashion designers presented their latest creations.
The China Culture Centre is a partner organisation providing a venue for SCO Women's Club meetings, cultural exchange and traditional Chinese craft workshops.
Yao Jianpin comes from a family of embroiderers going back several generations. She is rightly recognised as the queen of Suzhou embroidery, a craft included on the list of masterpieces belonging to UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage. Yao Jianpin is an honourary member of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and a part-time professor of Nanjing University.
Gu Xiujian comes from a renowned family of Yixing clay teapot makers and is an honourary member of the Chinese Arts and Crafts Society, merited master of ceramic crafts and winner of multiple international prizes and awards in ceramics.
Fang Zhou, more famous as Hai Weng, is a prominent Chinese calligrapher, poet, researcher, arts expert, professor and art collector. He is the author of the Chinese Modern Cursive Script Dictionary.