MEXICO CITY, June 18 (Xinhua) -- Cultural exchanges between Latin America and China over the past four decades have brought the two distant regions closer together, Latin American academics, students and diplomats have said.
They called for enhanced exchanges between the two sides to make people gain deeper knowledge of each other's language, history and arts as China marks the 40th anniversary of its reform and opening up this year.
Marisol Villela, a graduate of China Academy of Art, completed studies last year on China-Latin America cultural ties and 20th-century art, a subject she said opened up "a spectrum on what mutual ties represent and entail."
Established in 1928 in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou that is rich in cultural heritage, China Academy of Art is the first public fine arts college in China.
"I am often impressed by the figures released regarding economic and trade ties, but it's also important to highlight that our ability to know each other in other fields, such as culture, not only expands our knowledge, but also helps us understand all fields better," the 25-year-old told Xinhua.
Speaking at a recent event on China-Mexico art exchanges at Mexico's National Autonomous University (UNAM), she said "cultural exchange between Latin America and China must be redoubled" as young people and the society in general aspire to better understanding and closer ties between Latin America and China.
"Those of us who have had the chance to study and live in China are certainly richer for the experience, since we have been able to learn about this changing society, and then return to our countries and share what it's like ... so that we understand each other better," Villela said at the event titled "The arrival of 1956: Socialist modernism and China-Mexico artistic exchange in the 1950s."
Mariana Escalante, who teaches at UNAM and Anahuac, a private university, said it "is essential" to maintain cultural exchange between the two regions, as "it makes the relationship and the understanding more accessible."
She noted that in recent years, the Chinese embassy in Mexico has been actively promoting cultural events. "Mexicans are increasingly taking part in ... celebrations like the Chinese New Year or fairs that feature Chinese music, dance, handicrafts and even cuisine," she said.
Eugenio Anguiano Roch, Mexico's first ambassador to China who served two terms -- first between 1972 and 1976 and then from 1982 to 1987 -- said cultural exchanges in the past 40 years "have led to better understanding of one another."
While expecting more work to be done in the future to expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges, the veteran diplomat acknowledged that language barrier is often an obstacle but that both sides are working to overcome it.
"The language difference is something that is still being worked on by both sides, and that will definitely help strengthen understanding and coexistence, especially among today's and future generations," Anguiano said.