Interview with Mme. Cai Xiaoli, President of Asia-Pacific Women’s Association (APWA)
Wednesday, 08 January 2020
On 10 December 2019, we sat down with Mme. Cai Xiaoli, President of Asia-Pacific Women’s Association (APWA) and spouse of H.E. Ambassador Zhang Ming, Head of the Chinese Mission to the European Union.
Q: Could you please give us a brief introduction to APWA?
A: APWA is the abbreviation for Asia-Pacific Women’s Association. It is an NGO women’s international organization composed of wives of ambassadors, female diplomats, celebrities and entrepreneurs from over 30 Asia-Pacific countries. It has been active in the EU and in Brussels for 33 years.
Q: APWA was established 33 years ago. Please tell us more about its history and characteristics.
A: Like a bright star, APWA is inheriting different cultures through regional cooperation, promoting friendship and mutual understanding to show its members’ national features or styles. It embodies team wisdom and team spirit on an international stage.
Q: We understand that APWA has its own philosophy, diversity and cultural characteristics?
A: Right! Per my understanding, APWA’s cultural philosophy is to pursue equality, mutual understanding, love, and win-win success.
Q: APWA is sometimes referred as “a shining star of Women Diplomacy in the heart of Europe”. How did it get such a reputation?
A: As far as I know, for years, there has not been such a large regional association on women diplomacy in Europe to showcase the multinational folk customs and cultural characteristics of such a compassionate global family. The Asia-Pacific International Fashion Show and Bazaar held at Tangla Hotel in June 2019 for example, has been highlighted as a great success story.
Q: These are quite fresh and innovative initiatives. Can you explain a little bit more?
A: Women ambassadors and diplomats, the main forces of APWA, play a proactive role as bridge-builders to exchange multi-national culture, art and love. Food, music, national costumes and exchange of ideas on women’s liberation are very often among their favorite topics and activities. I would say that this is a way they give a positive drive to the diplomatic circle in Brussels and add value to a peaceful and colorful world.
Q: Watching the Asia-Pacific International Fashion Show in Tangla Hotel in June, we were fascinated and impressed. How were you able to join forces with so many countries to display on one platform?
A: The stage belongs to everyone. It is a good opportunity for everyone too. When APWA reached consensus and recognized the significance of the event, just like the Silk Road initiative, all members were inspired and excited by the prospect of excellent cooperation and win-win success. It turned out to be even more successful than we had expected.
Q: APWA members must be very proud of themselves?
A: Yes. As the Chinese proverb says, “More wood, higher flames!” I believe all APWA Member States are very happy, taking the proud achievements and teamwork as a great honor and success.
Q: Can you give us some additional examples that illustrate how APWA is a success story for women diplomacy?
A: Love and warmth make a peaceful and caring world. In late October, APWA held a charity program of “Great Love Without Borders” in a nursing home in Brussels. Each year APWA organizes internal fund donations to help member states who ask for support in their national development. We also hold monthly meetings to taste and appreciate national delicacies and share cultural characteristics of the member states. Additionally, we invite members to ballet performances, concerts or exhibitions to enhance our mutual understanding and promote friendship.
Q: APWA seems like a tight-knit, warm and supportive community?
A: APWA is a warm and happy family in pursuit of common prosperity. We benefit from team wisdom and group discussions to find similarities. Teamwork builds up the platform to fulfill our key objectives and help reach out to each and every individual. The growing expectations highlight the organization’s enduring vitality and the teamwork achievements too.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about the future aspirations and projects of APWA?
A: The world is changing. APWA will keep pace with the times to seek better ways to demonstrate regional and national characteristics, seek more common ground as a team, as a big family and as a cohesive and peaceful organization which promotes friendship and contributes to a community with a shared future for mankind!