Language As Bridge, Culture As Sail
Notes on “Chinese Bridge for American Schools" Tour
China and the U.S. are two countries far from each other on the map and, too often, strangers to each other. However, a unique “Chinese Bridge” transcends time and space and connects the peoples of the two countries.
In 1963, the speech “I Have a Dream” by Black American leader Martin Luther King sowed seeds of hope in the hearts of Black people.
On June 24, 2009, Mr. Gaston Caperton, President of the U.S. College Board, quoted from this speech in Beijing in anticipation of the good prospects for Sino-U.S. relationships. U.S. headmasters and education officials and their Chinese counterparts who were present all looked forward to the fine prospect of Sino-U.S. education exchanges. On June 23, 430 headmasters and education officials from 40 states participated in the “Chinese Bridge for American Schools” tour, co-sponsored by Hanban and the U.S. College Board.
The next afternoon, the representatives visited the Confucius Institute Headquarters located northwest of the imposing Desheng Gate Tower in Bejing. In the spacious lobby, representatives and guests gathered beneath the more than 80 national flags that represent those countries that have established Confucius Institutes to hear brief speeches by Director-General Xu Lin and Mr. Caperton. Their witty words aroused warm applause from the audience.
After the speeches, delegates streamed into the China Exploratorium and the Teaching Resources Center on the first floor. The Teaching Resources Centers houses over 100 thousand books and wonderful multimedia courseware, which greatly aroused the visitors’ interest.
A wide variety of Chinese cultural displays in the China Exploratorium demon- strated the extraordinary splendor of Chinese culture. Visitors were attracted and lost in wonder at remarkable folk music instruments, simple but elegant bamboo slips, and beautiful Chinese paintings with their harmony in form and content, lively paper cuts and the bright, elegant porcelain. Many of them stopped in front of the costumes of Chinese ethnic minorities to look at these brilliantly colored clothes with curiosity. Some guests even tried the clothes on. Hearty laughter could be heard ringing through the hall.