UCLA Confucius Institute Announces Its Support for "One Hundred Thousand Strong Initiative"
When the "One Hundred Thousand Strong Initiative" was announced by US President Obama during his visit to China in November 2009, the staff members of the Confucius Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) were aware that the Initiative has close links with the mission of the Confucius Institute, namely, both the Chinese and US sides have realized that cultural exchanges between the young people of the two countries will serve as an important foundation for the friendly relations between the two countries.
On November 21st, 2011, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa held a press conference to promote the "One Hundred Thousand Strong Initiative", so as to call on the whole of society to support the implementation of the Initiative. In view of the UCLA Confucius Institute's good performance in supporting local primary and secondary schools in launching Chinese programs, training local Chinese language teachers and carrying out Sino-US cultural exchange activities, the Institute's staff members were also invited by the Mayor's Office to attend the press conference.
The press conference was held at the Mendez Learning Center, a high school that is proud of its flourishing Chinese programs and increasing number of Chinese learners. The Mayor of Los Angeles has decided to choose students from the school for summer study in China next year. Two teachers who are teaching Chinese language at the Mendez Learning Center participated in the training session for local Chinese teachers held by the Confucius Institute. The final teaching demonstration of the training session also took place at the Mendez Learning Center. All these facts show that Chinese language and cultural programs launched by the Institute have exerted a positive influence on the "100,000 Strong Initiative".
At the press conference, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa first talked about China's rapidly growing economy as well as its impact on the world. He stated that a considerable number of students in Los Angeles can speak both English and Spanish, but it's still not enough; they should learn to speak Chinese, so as to be fully prepared for all the challenges in the 21st century. Will.i.am, a well-known US singer and male lead singer of the Black Eyed Peas, also delivered a speech at the conference. His presence made the attending students scream with excitement. In July 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed Will.i.am as a special envoy for the 100,000 Strong Initiative. At the press conference, Will.i.am announced that he will give a concert at the Beijing National Stadium together with his Chinese counterparts on December 17th, 2011. Funds raised by the concert will be used to support and operate study abroad programs in China, so as to increase the number and variety of American students studying in China. Finally, the Mayor of Los Angeles answered questions posed by reporters. Officials from the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles were also invited to the event.
In the near future, there will be more cooperation and interaction between the Confucius Institute and the Initiative, which will create more chances for both Chinese and US students to exchange and learn from each other.
The Mayor of Los Angeles delivering a speech
Slogans in Chinese made by the US students can be seen everywhere at the press conference (1)
Slogans in Chinese made by the US students can be seen everywhere at the press conference (2)