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Wang Center honors China Partners Network

February 22, 2008

Wang Center honors China Partners Network

The Wang Center for International Programs honored China Partners Network with its Peace Builder Award during the February 2008 symposium “Advances in Global Health by Non-Governmental Organizations.”

The award recognizes “global bridge builders who exemplify hope for humanity, whose lives are centered on a vision of the just and good, who have demonstrated that they will not be defeated by difficult circumstances, and who affirm the resilience of the human spirit.”

The award went to China Partners Network and its principals, Donald Mott, MD; John Vaswig, M.Div.; Brett Nirider, PT; Steven Shores, OT; Juanita Niridir, PT; Sarah Kerrick, PT; and Xue Chung Liu, MD.

Founded in 2002, China Partners Network is a group of physicians, therapists and other volunteer professionals dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular disorders who live in underserved regions of China.

Supported by Lutheran congregations throughout Western Washington and by many generous individuals, the core of this network hails from the Children’s Therapy Unit of Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup. The health professionals use their talents, skills and free time to plan excursions to China and use their vacations to travel to the county to implement their plans.

Often, these plans often include working with Chinese professionals from both non-governmental organizations and government agencies to identify and implement opportunities to train health care workers. Plans also focus on increasing the knowledge of Chinese health care workers and developing sustainable training curriculum to spread the knowledge base within and among various Chinese institutions that care for children.

“Peace building is not just about diplomacy and bringing warring sides together,” Sobania said. “Health is the foundation of civil society. Improved health not only enhances the quality of peoples’ lives and supports economic stability, but it can help to prevent civil strife.”

Since its founding, members of the network, in collaboration with the Amity Foundation of Nanjing, China, have traveled to China six times and conducted workshops and courses in seven locations. Time after time, those who participate in the workshops – orphanage workers, therapy students, medical students, physicians in rehabilitation medicine, traditional Chinese medicine physicians and others – praise the contributions of China Partners Network.

The Wang Center’s Peace Builder Award was first given to Sidney Rittenberg, visiting professor of Chinese studies, in 2003. In 2005, award recipients included Tom Eric Vraalsen, Norwegian special envoy to Sudan; polar explorers Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft, who use their expeditions to promote understanding; and the Namibia Association of Norway, which responds to poverty and injustice by helping Namibians build skills. Last year, the award was given to Peter and Grace Wang, founders of the Wang Center.