LAND OF ABUNDANCE
Each Fortune Global Forum offers a complimentary program for delegates’ companions and spouses that is as insightful and memorable as the Forum itself. This year’s program provided a thoughtfully planned interactive experiences designed to acquaint our guests with the personality and the people—past and present—of host city Chengdu, one of China’s most intriguing cities.
Known as the “Land of Abundance” for its fertile soil and favorable climate, Chengdu has been settled for well over two millennia. The capital of Sichuan province, it is one of the most important economic, agricultural, and cultural centers in western China. Dynamic as it is, Chengdu is well known for its residents’ leisurely, laid-back lifestyle and warm openness, which our guests experienced firsthand.
Thursday 6 June
11.15–13.45 Welcoming Lunch:
Connect With Some of Chengdu’s Most Enterprising Women
Our opening lunch will take place at Jinyue French Restaurant at Jinjiang Hotel in the VIP Building. Enjoy the cuisine of Michelin-starred Master Chef Christophe Dufossé while meeting and exchanging viewpoints with women who capture our host city’s spirit, energy and creativity. These accomplished and influential women come from a variety of disciplines, including the arts, business, education and philanthropy.
13.45–16.30 Afternoon Activity:
Contemporary Art in Chengdu
Chengdu is one of the top centers – along with Beijing and Shanghai – for China’s vibrant contemporary art scene. The city’s artistic energy is reflected in the growing number of galleries and museums. One of most noteworthy new museums is XLY MoMA, China’s first private museum for art and design. Our visit will be hosted by the museum’s founder and owner: the influential artist/designer Liaoyuan Xu. XLY MoMA houses a collection of the artist’s stainless steel installations, ink paintings, conceptual furniture and ceramic art. On display during our visit will be a special exhibition of international contemporary art curated especially for our group.
13.45–16.30 Afternoon Activity:
Classical Poetry, Calligraphy and Bountiful Bamboo
The Thatched Cottage of Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu is an important shrine to the history of Chinese literature. One of the country’s most venerated classical poets, Du Fu wrote more than 200 poems while living at the site in the mid-8th century. His poems are studied by Chinese schoolchildren, and our tour will include a brief recitation by local students. In addition, master calligrapher Shu Jiong will discuss and demonstrate the art of “beautiful writing,” giving our guests an opportunity to try their hand. The afternoon will conclude with a special, bamboo-themed tea.
17.45–22.00 Welcoming Reception, Opening Dinner and Entertainment
Open to All Delegates and Spouses
Our opening evening is designed to dazzle delegates and their spouses with the artistic display at which China excels: a creative blend of costumes, choreography, performance, and modern technology that spans the country’s cultural continuum from traditional to contemporary. Following our official opening reception and dinner, top artists from the disciplines of dance, drumming, opera, tai chi and music—including China’s virtuoso pianist and musical ambassador Lang Lang—will tell the story of how “The Dream of Chengdu” is planted and grows to become part of “China’s New Future.”
FRIDAY, 7 June
6.30–7.40 Early Morning Activity:
Tai Chi at Hejiangting Park
Our guests have the option of beginning the day with a class conducted by a tai chi master at Hejiangting Park. The park—whose name means “temple where rivers meet”—lies at a fork in the Jin River a short walk from the Shangri-La, our headquarters hotel. After this preparation for the day’s activities, guests are welcome to enjoy a light, healthy breakfast and watch or engage in shuttlecock juggling and Chinese yo-yo—two favorite local pastimes.
8.20–12.15 Morning Activity:
Meet the Giant Pandas and Panda Experts of Chengdu
China’s most famous global ambassadors are its giant pandas, which are indigenous to the Sichuan region. No organization worldwide has played a more important role in the study and protection of this vanishing species than the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (Chengdu Panda Base). The breeding program has resulted in a captive-born population of more than 300. Dr. Zhang Zhihe, director, and Dr. Hou Rong, researcher, at Chengdu Panda Base, will give our group an overview of the breeding program. The husband and wife are known affectionately as Father and Mother Panda. Following a private tour of the sanctuary, each guest will be photographed with a panda cub by Zhou Mengqi, a Chengdu native who is the world’s leading photographer of pandas in the wild.
Dining at a Living Museum: The Old Chengdu Club
This boutique hotel, which opened as a private club in 2009, is a faithful reconstruction of 16 traditional structures that once stood on its site near the Wenshu Monastery, Chengdu’s best-preserved Buddhist temple. Built using ancient construction methods, the Old Chengdu Club incorporates materials from the original structures. The period interiors, including the banqueting room where our group will have lunch, have been recreated and feature traditional arts, crafts and furnishings while incorporating modern amenities. Chengdu is one of China’s most important culinary centers – a place where cooking has long been elevated to an art and a science and where food has always been central to cultural life. It was designated a UNESCO City of Gastronomy in 2011. Guests will have the opportunity to sample classic Sichuan dishes – characterized by the pairing of subtle and spicy tastes – prepared under the direction of award-winning chef Zhou Yuming from a buffet that also includes Western dishes.
13.30–16.30 Afternoon Activity, Option 1:
Inside the Silken World of Shu Brocade and Embroidery
Chengdu is the cradle of China’s revered silk culture and trade. Shu (Sichuan) brocade and embroidery have been prized for two millennia for their quality, elegance, and artistry. The South Silk Road began at Chengdu and carried its sought-after textiles across Asia to the Middle East and Mediterranean. The Chengdu Shu Brocade and Embroidery Museum was founded ten years ago to preserve these ancient handcrafts and showcase their history. Renowned master embroiderer Madam Hao Shuping, former director of the Shu Embroidery Institute, will curate and present an exhibition of Shu brocade and embroidery in antique and contemporary garments and accessories especially for our group. We will meet and see the work of other artists who are carrying this “intangible cultural heritage” into the 21st century, including award-winning master embroiderers Wu Yuying and Meng Dezhi and acclaimed social entrepreneur and artist Yan Junhui. As we tour the museum, guests can watch master weavers at work on a hualou, one of the few remaining antique jacquard platform looms.
13.30–16.30 Afternoon Activity, Option 2:
An Afternoon in the Three Kingdoms
Spend an afternoon immersed in culture of the Three Kingdoms (220–280 AD) beginning with a tour of the Wuhou Temple, a memorial to Shu Kingdom leaders from this important period. Next, we will take a stroll down nearby Jinli Street, an ancient commercial lane that combines Three Kingdom culture with local folk custom. The highlight of the afternoon will be a private performance of excerpts from Sichuan opera by leading artists at the famous Gu Xitai (“old stage”), in the court of the Jie Yi Lou teahouse. We will have the opportunity to meet performers, including award-winning artists Chen Qiaoru and Ye Changmin; get a close look at the masks and costumes; and see demonstrations of fire-spitting.
18.00–22.00 Dinner at the Wide and Narrow Alleys
Open to all Delegates and Spouses
To walk the Kuanzhai Xiangzi (“Wide and Narrow Alleys”) is to experience a microcosm of life in Chengdu. This protected, historic district blends the architecture and ambience of old Chengdu City with the style and energy of modern Chengdu. This is where the past and present, local and global, fast and slow elements of life in Chengdu meet. For one night, we will have this popular destination exclusively to ourselves, dividing into groups to dine in Kuanzhai Xiangzi’s top restaurants and then gathering for a nightcap.
Saturday, 8 June
5.50–10.15 Early Morning Activity:
Tai Chi and The Tao at Mount Qingcheng
Described as “the most peaceful and secluded mountain underheaven,” Qingcheng is a birthplace of Taoism, a belief system focused on living in balance with the natural world. These beliefs are distilled in the harmonious integration of Taoist culture into the landscape at Qingcheng, which was named a World Heritage Site in 2000. We will gather in the courtyard of Jianfu Palace—the most important palace at Mount Qingcheng—where world-renowned master Liu Suibin, 36th generation abbot of the Qingcheng Taoist monks, will instruct and lead us in tai chi. The session will be accompanied by Zeng Chengwei playing the guqin, a seven-string zither that is among China’s most ancient and revered musical instruments. Zhang Mingxin, a 20th-generation disciple of the Dragon Gate School of Quanzhen Taoism and also head of Jianfu Palace, will elaborate on the essential ideas and methods of the Taoist regimen for our group. Afterward, we will be served a traditional Taoist meal, endowed with a sense of ritual and featuring a balance of healthy, natural ingredients.
7.40–12.30 Morning Activity, Option 1:
Dujiangyan Irrigation System – Managing Nature with Nature
For more than two millennia, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System has ensured the Chengdu Plain’s reputation as the Land of Abundance, producing consistent harvests over a 2,000-square-mile area even in times of flooding or drought. Built to harness the Min River, the world’s oldest large-scale water conservation project controls flooding and silt without a dam. It relies instead on gravity—using nature to manage nature—and an ingenious man-made dyke-and-spillway system. With Zhao Wen Qiao—a recognized expert on ancient Sichuan history and folklore—as our guide, we will view this unique human achievement from the Fish Mouth Levee and two other strategic vantage points that provide insight into how the system works and afford breathtaking vistas.
8.00–12.00 Morning Activity, Option 2:
Jinsha Ruins Archaeological Museum
In 2001, workers for a residential-property development company unearthed the most significant archaeological find in recent Chinese history: the ruins of a 3,000-year-old riverside village. The 74-acre Jinsha Ruins Museum was built to protect this working archaeological site and to study and display a continuously emerging trove of precious jade, gold, ivory, bronze, and stone artifacts. Made with sophisticated craftsmanship, these artifacts include the famous gold-foil disk featuring the sunbird that has become the official insignia of Chengdu. Our private tour of this unique museum will be led by archaeology researcher Dr. Wang Yi, who is also the curator of the Jinsha Ruins Archaeological Museum and director of the Chengdu Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute. We will be given privileged access to artifacts and areas of the excavation not usually on public view.
12.45–14.00 Closing Lunch at the Shangri-La Hotel
Open to All Delegates and Spouses
14.30–18.00 Optional Afternoon Activity:
Shangri-La Spa Experience
Give yourself over to luxurious spa treatments based on traditional therapies from the Asian cultures that traded along the old Silk Road. In Chinese philosophy, ch’i is the universal life force that governs well-being. Spa treatments are designed to restore the free flow of ch’i through massage, stretching, hydrotherapy, meditation, and relaxation. Return home feeling refreshed and renewed.