SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – According to officials at the University of Utah, a shipment of 10,000 masks arrived as a gift from Sichuan Provincial Forestry and Grassland Bureau.
The shipped boxes were scribed with messages of solidarity and friendship alongside a panda graphic—Sichuan’s provincial icon and a traditional symbol of peace and good luck.
“We are very grateful for this act of generosity and friendship by the Sichuan Provincial Forestry and Grassland Bureau,” said Ruth V. Watkins, president of the University of Utah. “It underscores the long-term partnership the university and the Sichuan province have developed to train national park administrators in best practices. It also signals what I hope will be an ongoing collaboration. We want the people in Sichuan province to know their gift is deeply appreciated.”
University officials say Utah and the U both maintain long-held collaborative relationships with China.
As recently as October 2019, representatives from the Office for Global Engagement at the U traveled to China carrying a formal declaration of friendship from Gov. Gary Herbert to participate in a formal Friendship Celebration, symbolizing the warm relationship between the state of Utah and Sichuan, university officials added.
“This is truly about people helping people and it’s the result of long-standing relationships. We are very grateful,” said Franz Kolb, director for international trade and diplomacy with the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
The masks will be used to protect health care providers, patients and visitors to the U’s health care facilities.