The 8th National Chinese Language Conference held in Atlanta, the US

[Source]    Hanban [Time]    2015-05-14 14:56:17 

On April 16, the 8th National Chinese Language Conference, co-organized by Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), the College Board and the Asia Society, opened in Atlanta, the US.

Madam Xu Lin, Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters and Director General of Hanban, David Coleman, President of the College Board and Tom Nagorski, Executive Vice President of the Asia Society, respectively delivered speeches at the opening ceremony.

In her remarks, Madam Xu Lin said, “Each and every one of us is trying our utmost to promote the development of Chinese language teaching in the US. Since 2005 when Hanban started to cooperate with the College Board and the Asia Society, great achievements have been made in Chinese language teaching over the last decade. Despite difficulties and setbacks, our partnership is getting closer and closer.”

She illustrated her points through vivid stories and reached a conclusion, “There are three core characters of the American people worth our efforts to learn. The first one is their enthusiasm for challenges. US universities always encourage their students to take risks. The second one is their direct ways of dealing with things. The American people like to attain their goals in a very short time. And the last one is the creativity and innovation.”

Also, Madam Xu Lin expressed her hope that US young people should better understand China and the Chinese people. She said, “China is a country with a 5,000-year-old history and profound national spirit. Today, China is the second largest economy in the world, yet in terms of per capita GDP it ranks after the 80th. Thus, China is still a developing country, and not every Chinese leads a well-off life. In addition, the Chinese people, whether rich or poor, whether in urban or rural areas, have an exceedingly strong sense of responsibility for their families and collectives. This is why we Chinese hardly say ‘I’ but like to say ‘we’ more. The pronoun ‘We’ suggests a larger collective beyond an individual.”

David Coleman said, “The College Board has been helping students learn Chinese and learn it excellently. It is a magical experience to see a student make the transition from knowing nothing about Chinese to being able to speak the language fluently.”

Tom Nagorski said, “Chinese language teaching is a significant part of the job of the Asia Society. The mission of the Asia Society is to enhance mutual understanding between the American and Asian peoples. In order to accomplish this mission, a bridge of communication must be built through Chinese language and culture.”

The theme of this year’s conference was “Pathways to Global Engagement”, and close to a hundred sub-forums revolving around teaching staff, materials and methods would take place. Featured plenary and sessions such as “Presidential Forum: A Conversation on Global Education, Engagement, and Exchange”, “What We Have Learned from Chinese Immersion Programs” and “The Cultural Activities of Confucius Institutes” were closely connected to the practice of Chinese language teaching in the US, and therefore they provided the US Chinese language teachers with a platform for mutual learning and communication, which would eventually promote US-China educational exchange and cooperation. During the conference, Confucius Institute Headquarters would hold exhibitions of Chinese language teaching resources.

At the opening ceremony, performances concerning Chinese culture were presented. A rap video by the Russian “Chinese language prodigy” was played. US stand-up comedy live show player Jessie Applle, and Nicholas Angiers who participated in “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students, recounted their own interesting stories about learning Chinese in a comic way by performing xiangsheng (crosstalk) and a talk show in Chinese and English. Three students from the Confucius Institute at Kennesaw State University went onto the stage and sang Chinese songs. Anthony Dodge, the first-prize winner in “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students, and Nicholas Biniaz-Harris, the first-prize winner in “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students played the piano-erhu duet Horse Racing. The performers’ fluent spoken Chinese, insights into Chinese culture and professional performances showcased the success of exchanges between Chinese and American cultures. The audience was all deeply touched and loved the show.

A total of over 1,200 people attended the conference, including officials of the education departments of a number of state governments, university presidents and primary and secondary school principals, and Chinese language experts, educators and teachers. Former U.S. President James Earl Carter sent a congratulatory letter to the conference.


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