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Press release content from Globe Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Ctrip CEO Visits Middle East Refugee Centers to Seek Further Commitments

February 28, 2019 GMT

SHANGHAI, China, Feb. 28, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- From Feb 2nd to 5th, during the Chinese New Year holiday, Ms. Jane Sun, CEO of Ctrip, China’s largest online travel agency, visited refugee centers in Lebanon and Jordan accompanied by staff from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, seeking further commitments to the region.

As a philanthropist who donates tens of thousands of dollars every year to causes which help children suffering from the effects of war, Ms. Sun took the trip to better understand the situation in the region and how she as a philanthropist as well as Ctrip as a leading Chinese company, could better support the region.

Refugee settlement in Taanayel

Accompanied by staff from UNHCR, Ms. Sun visited a Syrian refugee family in a settlement in Taanayel. The family of six resides in a tent, with the two oldest children going to school while their mother takes care of two younger daughters and cooks for the whole family. The father of the family gets up at dawn every morning to look for work; if he is lucky, he manages to find the occasional day job to support them. Considering that the majority of Syrian refugees do not possess legal documents to work in Lebanon, this precarious situation is in fact relatively fortunate.

Though the government of Lebanon opens the border when necessary, the government does not want to turn UN settlements into permanent ones. The population of Lebanon is only 5 million, so they lack the capacity to support 1.5 million refugees permanently. As far as the family is concerned, they are grateful for this chance to escape from the bombs of their homeland and find refuge in Lebanon.

Offering help through education

Ms. Sun made sure to ask about children’s education at every refugee center she visited throughout the trip, as she is a passionate believer in power of education to change the lives of refugee children.

While she was in Chtoura, Ms. Sun visited a local education center. The Maharat Center provides special needs education to ninety Syrian and Lebanese children with learning disabilities and autism, providing extra support to children who have trouble accessing a mainstream curriculum.

Ms. Sun offered to connect teachers in the center with similar China-based organizations she is also a patron of, expressing the belief that Chinese organizations can assist counterparts in the Middle East by sharing their experience in educating children with autism. Ms. Sun also impressed on teachers the importance of English education in increasing the future job opportunities of children at the center.

“The tragedy and human cost of war is felt far beyond the battlefield upon which it is fought,” said Ms. Sun upon the trip’s completion. “The perilous situation of these refugees should impel us all to consider our place in the world, and this trip has served to remind me that awareness must be coupled with action. As a leading travel company, co-operation for the common good - regardless of international borders - is an essential part of the Ctrip mission. With the benefit of having visited these families in need, I will do all I can to make sure Ctrip and Trip.com play a positive role in the alleviation of this global crisis.”

As the presence of Chinese companies has become ever more prominent in world of international business, they are progressively also taking up the mantle of social responsibility on a global scale. In another example of a Chinese entrepreneur demonstrating a commitment to the Middle East, in 2018 Alibaba’s Jack Ma made a significant donation to teacher training programs for refugees in Jordan.

Last year, Ms. Sun led Ctrip Group to undertake three major philanthropic initiatives: the CanDo project, which helps build and operate children’s hospitals a northern part of Syria; the Edesia project, which donates food to young children suffering from malnutrition in western African countries; and the Syrian Paralyzed Children project, which provides artificial limbs to children injured in the Syrian Civil War.

Email: Pr@ctrip.com