‘Global cit­i­zen’ be­comes head of C-100

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YUWEI in New York yuweizhang@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

China by blood, Amer­ica by choice and Europe by in­vi­ta­tion. That’s how Clarence Kwan, the new chair­man of the non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion Com­mit­tee of 100, de­scribes him­self as a global cit­i­zen who has been pro­mot­ing US-China re­la­tions for the past three decades.

Kwan, 60, a se­nior part­ner at Sino-Century China PE Part­ners, on Fri­day be­comes the chair­man of the com­mit­tee, which fo­cuses on build­ing con­struc­tive re­la­tions be­tween the world’s two largest economies.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Kwan came to the US for col­lege in 1972. For al­most 35 years, he worked in fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sory and man­age­ment with Deloitte in the US, China and East­ern Europe, in­clud­ing be­ing a found­ing part­ner of Deloitte Czech Repub­lic.

“I see my­self as a global cit­i­zen,” said Kwan, whose par­ents lived in Mex­ico and be­came Mex­i­can cit­i­zens be­fore they moved to Hong Kong where Kwan was born.

A Chi­nese Amer­i­can with vet­eran ex­pe­ri­ence in busi­ness con­sult­ing help­ing Chi­nese and US firms to in­vest in the world’s two big­gest economies, Kwan said he is ready to help max­i­mize the im­pact of the com­mit­tee.

“We are an or­ga­ni­za­tion of lead­ers with many win­ners and cham­pi­ons and our goal is to mo­bi­lize all our lead­ers and turn our or­ga­ni­za­tion from a team of cham­pion into a cham­pi­onship team,” said Kwan.

Founded in 1990, the com­mit­tee’s found­ing mem­bers in­cluded leading ar­chi­tect I.M. Pei, fa­mous mu­si­cian Yo Yo Ma, and a for­mer ex­ec­u­tive with Gen­eral Mo­tors, Shirley Young.

One unique el­e­ment about the or­ga­ni­za­tion is the mix of the founder mem­bers and the cur­rent 150 mem­bers of the com­mit­tee — mostly Chi­nese Amer­i­cans who come from all walks of life, in­clud­ing busi­ness lead­ers, artists, politi­cians — with the same goal: to pro­mote a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing be­tween the two largest economies.

“That re­flects the dif­fer­ent level of po­ten­tial col­lab­o­ra­tions be­tween the US and China,” said Kwan.

“The mem­bers’ unique ex­pe­ri­ence about China and the US makes them per­fect ‘good­will am­bas­sadors’ to bring the two peo­ples closer.”

“If we can get each of them to start think­ing about this im­por­tant is­sue, we will be very suc­cess­ful,” he said.

As a vet­eran fi­nan­cial ex­pert, Kwan said col­lab­o­ra­tions in ar­eas be­yond eco­nomic will help build a good plat­form for the two peo­ples to strength mu­tual un­der­stand­ing.

“The multi-facet in­ter­ac­tions be­tween the two peo­ples are ex­cel­lent progress in this re­la­tion­ship,” said Kwan, who has been in­volved in func­tions with Chi­ne­seAmer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties in the US, in­clud­ing act­ing as trea­surer of the Mu­seum of Chi­nese in Amer­ica.

But Kwan cau­tions that some “real­is­tic” think­ing should be put in China-US re­la­tions, one of the most im­por­tant re­la­tion­ships in the 21st century.

“For these two ma­jor coun­tries to have no con­flicts and no con­fronta­tions, that may not be that real­is­tic,” said Kwan.

Call­ing the “new type of ma­jor-coun­try re­la­tion­ship” — which lead­ers from both China and the US are com­mit­ted to — a good in­spi­ra­tion, Kwan said people-topeo­ple ties that the com­mit­tee is try­ing to pro­mote will be a vi­tal ba­sis for this goal.

“Of course, pol­i­tics plays a role there, but people have to get be­hind the is­sues to make sure the politi­cians are do­ing the right thing,” said Kwan.

The in­ter­de­pen­dent re­la­tions of the US and China make them two im­por­tant play­ers in global and re­gional is­sues, many of which, Kwan said, may be sen­si­tive and re­quire the two sides to work harder at find­ing so­lu­tions to­gether.

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