Liu Yandong Attends the Opening Ceremony of the 4th US National Chinese Language Conference

[Source]    People's Daily Online--People's Daily [Time]    2011-04-18 10:36:19 

San Francisco, April 14th, People’s Daily (Reporter Chen Yiming)—Liu Yandong, Chinese State Councilor attended the opening ceremony of the 4th National Chinese Language Conference and spoke at the conference on the 14th during her visit to the USA. More than 1,500 people involved in Chinese language education and those from all walks of life of the US were in attendance at the conference.

Liu Yandong began by showing pictures depicting the true sentiment of exchange; they showed American children learning Chinese. She thinks highly of the National Chinese Language Conference’s important role in promoting America’s Chinese education and the remarkable achievements attained through the Conference. She complimented a broad variety of people for the great efforts they had made in promoting Chinese language education and facilitating Sino-American educational and cultural exchange.

Liu Yandong said that currently Sino-American relations are entering into a new stage of cooperative partnership characterized by mutual respect and benefit. Cultural exchanges between the two countries are expanding, propelling the building up of a cooperative Sino-American partnership. Sino-American language and cultural exchanges are an important component of the two countries’ humanistic exchanges and they play an irreplaceable role in enhancing relations and mutual understanding, facilitating Sino-American friendship.

Liu Yandong noted that in these times, economic globalization and scientific and technological progress will bring closeness in the connections between humanity in an unprecedented way. The safeguarding of the common interests of the human race and the facing of challenges that lie ahead will necessitate the close cooperation of all nations. Language is a tool for communication. In an era of peace, development and cooperation such as today, peoples’ willingness to learn foreign languages and to enhance understanding have never been so strong.

Liu Yandong introduced the fact that foreign education is incredibly popular in China with more than 60 kinds of foreign language majors having been opened in colleges and universities and the majority of primary schools providing English classes. Along with the increasingly comprehensive exchanges between China and the rest of the world, ‘Chinese fever’ has become evident across the globe. In recent years, Chinese education has thrived in the US with public support. There are more than 70 Confucius Institutes, more than 1,000 universities with Chinese language majors, more than 4,000 primary and secondary schools setting up Chinese courses and many more States opening Confucius Classrooms in primary and secondary schools across the USA. Chinese teaching activities of various kinds haven taken place and many more organizations and individuals have joined in the cause of promoting and learning Chinese. All of these efforts have become part of a vivid picture of deep cultural exchange between the two countries.

Liu Yandong emphasized China’s support of Chinese education promotion with the goal of facilitating mutual understanding, trust and cooperation between China and the rest of the world. China will aid Chinese education in the US further. In cooperation with the US, it will foster the skills of many more American teachers of Chinese, conduct exchanges between teachers and students and hold further cooperation in areas, including that of pedagogical research in the field of Chinese education. She hopes that people working in Chinese language education will continue to devote themselves to the noble cause of strengthening understanding and friendship between the people of China and the US and serve as the pioneers of Chinese education localization, practitioners of cultural exchanges and the driving force of Sino-American friendship.

Liu Yandong’s speech was graciously welcomed by the entire audience. Her speech was met by lengthy and repeated applause and the entire conference was permeated with a genuinely, warm atmosphere.

The National Chinese Language Conference of US sponsored by the US College Board and the Asia Society is a large-scale language conference with the goal of promoting Chinese language education and improving students’ competitiveness on an international level. It is an annual conference which began in 2008.

Prior to the opening ceremony, Liu Yandong also met with Li Mengxian, Mayor of San Francisco, Qiu Xinfu, Chairman of Municipal Counselor Office, Gaston Caperton, Chairman of the US College Board and Ding Wenjia, Chairman of the Asia Society. She also visited Cisco Systems, Inc. as well as local kindergartens and attended the signing ceremony of an agreement concerning Chinese language and cultural programs reached between Hanban and the Asia Society in conjunction with the US College Board.