2011 USA National Chinese Language Conference is held in San Francisco

[Source]    Hanban [Time]    2011-04-30 10:45:32 

In the National Chinese Language Conference of the USA, the students who learn Chinese in San Francisco are performing Chinese folk dances.

San Francisco, April 14th-16th—Chinese Hanban was invited to organize a delegation to attend the Fourth National Chinese Language Conference held in San Francisco from the 14th to the 16th of April. Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong attended the opening ceremony and gave a speech. Assistant Secretary of the State Collin Campbell, President of the US College Board Caperton and Chairman of the Asia Society Vishakha N. Desai were also present. Principals of elementary and secondary schools, presidents of colleges in each states of the USA, teachers and political representatives- totaling 1500- attended this conference, making it a grand meeting and the one with the most attendees and the highest profile representatives present.

The USA National Chinese Language Conference has been held through the joint efforts of the Asia Society, the US College Board and Chinese Hanban annually since 2008 and is aimed at promoting exchanges between Chinese language teaching institutes and teachers across the USA as well as the development of Chinese teaching in the USA. The theme of this USA National Chinese Language Conference was “Connection, Innovation and Guidance”. There were 5 plenary meetings and 6 group symposiums during the conference. The topics for discussion during the plenary meetings included “Innovation: How Information Technology and Social Media Are Changing the Way our Students Are Educated, Learn Languages, and Engage in International Collaboration”, “Confucianism for a global community: a dialogue with Du Weiming” and “A World-Class Education: Spotlight on Students” etc. whilst the group symposiums involved 60 topics of discussion including Chinese teaching materials, teacher resources, teaching and examinations etc.

At the opening ceremony, Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong spoke highly of the important role played by the USA National Chinese Language Conference in the promotion of Chinese language education in the USA, and expressed appreciation of the hard work undertaken by people from all walks of life in the USA towards the cause of the popularization of Chinese language teaching and the promotion of educational and cultural exchange between China and the USA. As Liu Yandong emphasized in her speech, Sino-U.S. relations have been some of the most dynamic and influential bilateral relations seen by the world to date. The joint declaration issued by President Hu Jintao and President Obama in January this year, in particular brought cultural and educational exchanges between China and the USA into the strategic framework of Sino-U.S. relations, pertaining to the long-term and being extremely pragmatic. As Liu Yandong stated, Chinese education is an important component of cultural and educational exchange. She stated that China supports promotion of Chinese teaching which is fundamental to the promotion of understanding, mutual trust and cooperation with nations across the globe. China will provide more assistance in regards to Chinese education in the USA by jointly cultivating greater numbers of native teachers, dispatching greater numbers of volunteer Chinese teachers and conducting exchanges between students, teachers and principals and presidents of colleges, elementary and secondary schools. Meanwhile, China will provide various colleges, elementary and secondary schools in the USA with assistance in terms of teaching materials and curriculums etc. in response to requirements and it will enter into discussions regarding Chinese teaching methodologies appropriate to the USA’s unique field of education. Liu expressed hopes that Chinese teachers will remain committed to the noble cause of enhancing understanding and friendship between China and America’s people, being explorers of native Chinese education, practitioners of cultural exchange and forces in the generation of Sino-US friendship.

Assistant Secretary of State Collin Campbell stated in his speech that Americans will come into contact with and understand China more. Therefore, the “Hundred Thousand Strong Initiative” proposed by President Obama will be implemented. President of the US College Board Gaston Caperton stated that new political structures and economic systems are emerging: As result much stronger connections are required between China and the USA. He thanked Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong and Chinese Hanban's substantial support for Chinese teaching in the USA. The Chairman of the Asia Society Vishakha N. Desai noted that the entire Chinese teaching industry is maturing and becoming a sphere for a greater number of elites. In 2009, Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong has already brought into being three “800” programs and this year, has brought three “10,000” programs into being. The implications of these programs are such that they will facilitate ten thousand American undergraduates in visiting China for study; ten thousand individuals will also visit China for advanced studies and training within the “Chinese Bridge” program. The remaining program is one involving the dispatch of ten thousand students to the USA for the purpose of engaging in doctoral degrees at public expense. This is clear evidence that China attaches great importance to Sino-U.S. relation.

Before the opening ceremony of the conference, State Councilor Liu Yandong met with President Gaston Caperton and Chairman Vishakha N. Desai and witnessed the signing of cooperative agreements between Chinese Hanban, the US College Board and the Asia Society.

With active promotion from Chinese Hanban, Chinese language education in the USA has made rapid progress. The Confucius Institute develops at a steady pace: at present, there are 75 Confucius Institutes and 276 Confucius Classrooms across the USA. Many famous universities including University of Michigan, University of Washington, Columbia University, University of Chicago and Stanford University have opened a Confucius Institute; the catchment net of Chinese teaching has been further expanded. There are more than 1000 universities in the USA that host a Chinese Major and more than 4000 elementary and secondary schools offer Chinese language courses.

During the conference, Chinese Hanban also organized the USA National Confucius Classroom Conference and a series of seminars in relation to a program for Chinese volunteer teachers visiting the USA. They achieved complete success.(By Chen Mo)