Madam Liu Yandong Visits the Confucius Institute at the George Washington University

[Source]    Xinhuanet [Time]    2013-12-27 13:48:52 

On November 20, Chinese Vice Premiere Liu Yandong (R) sends to President of the George Washington University Steven Knapp the catalogue of donated books of Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) in Washington D.C..

WASHINGTON D.C., Nov 20, 2013 (Xinhuanet) (By Sun Hao, Cao Yu) -- Chinese Vice Premiere Liu Yandong paid a visit to the Confucius Institute at the George Washington University on the afternoon.

Madam Liu Yandong said in her remarks that as the exchanges and cooperation between China and other countries across the world continuously deepen, English learning has apparently enjoyed unprecedented attention and popularity in China, which is evidenced by the fact that there are 300 million people studying English now in China. Meanwhile, an increasing number of governments, educational institutions and far-sighted intellectuals attach great importance to Chinese language.

Madam Liu Yandong said she is to co-chair with US Secretary of State John Kerry the fourth China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) on Nov 21, 2013. Having accomplished much over the past three years, this consultation aims to achieve more with concerted efforts made by both China and the US.

Liu Yandong pointed out that over the past three years, the “100,000 Strong Initiative” study-in-China program launched by the Obama Administration has helped 68,000 American people come to China for further study. At the same time, the “Three 10,000” program proposed by the Chinese government has also been smoothly carried out.

Soon after this CPE will be the 35th anniversary of the establishment of China-US diplomatic ties, so Liu Yandong mentioned in particular an anecdote concerning China-US people-to-people exchange recently recalled by former US President Carter: Right before the establishment of China-US diplomatic relations, an US official called Carter at around 3 a.m., reporting to him that Deng Xiaoping had asked the US government whether it would receive 5,000 Chinese students, and Cater replied that the US was willing to admit 100,000.

Right after the establishment of China-US diplomatic ties, only 52 Chinese people went to the US for study, while over the past 35 years, the US has become the destination of a total of 1.5 million Chinese students, Liu Yandong said.

Later, Liu Yandong watched wonderful shows such as Chinese poetry readings performed by the young American students in the George Washington University. After the shows, she said to the students that their fluent Chinese and fondness for Chinese culture have greatly touched her, adding that language, to humans, is the bridge of soul and feelings, and she is convinced that there will be fewer language barriers for the younger generation in future.

The shows were hosted by a white young man, a student now studying Chinese at the Confucius Institute at the George Washington University and speaking great Chinese. Calling himself “An Juli”, he has been studying Chinese for eight years, and he was also the winner of the 11th “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students of the Washington division.

He said that thanks to his studying Chinese and the programs sponsored by the Chinese government, he had the opportunity to go to China. He once chatted with Chinese centenarians during his travels, helped the local peasants sell products in the countryside and talked about his dreams with his Chinese “ge men” (buddies) while sitting on a curb with barbecue food in hands. It was the Chinese language that helped him see and feel the real China through exchanges.

Up to now, over 430 Confucius Institutes and 640 Confucius Classrooms have been established around the world. The US has 98 Confucius Institutes and more than 350 Confucius Classrooms, making it the home to the most Confucius Institutes (Classrooms) in the world.


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