9th Annual National Chinese Language Conference
9th Annual National Chinese Language ConferenceJosé Rios, Director, Multicultural Communications
The National Chinese Language Conference, a forum co-organized by the College Board and Asia Society that discusses best practices in Chinese language and culture education, celebrated its ninth annual event this year. It was a truly international celebration for a record-breaking crowd of more than 1,300 attendees in Chicago.
This year’s opening gala included Chicago Public School students from Calameca Academy of Fine Arts and Dual Language, Northside College Preparatory High School, and Walter Payton College Preparatory High School. They kicked off the event with greetings in both Chinese and English and perfomend a traditional Chinese dance and song.
College Board President and CEO David Coleman took a moment during his remarks to recognize the teachers and principals who are working hard every day to expand the international perspectives of their students. “I want to extend a warm welcome to all of you who have traveled great distances and thank you for the difference that you are making in young people’s lives," he said.
Before the conference, some attendees joined organized visits to local schools that offer Chinese as part of their curriculum. This year the conference visited nine Chicago Public Schools and four suburban schools; visitors got to see firsthand the long-running Chinese language and cultural education program that reaches more than 13,000 Chicago students.
During the event's plenaries, attendees learned about the different activities that play a role in making cultural connections.
Wu Man, a premier pipa virtuoso and Grammy-Award-nominated lute-like instrument player, introduced the audience to ancient musical traditions and explained how she has used her skills to bridge cultures through music. From a panel of culinary experts and historians, including celebrated certified master chef and TV personality Martin Yan from the show Yan Can Cook, the audience got a picture of where Chinese food has come from, where it’s going, and how culinary traditions evolve as they are assimilated into new communities.
To sum it all up, this year’s event was “Ambassadorship in Action” through art, cuisine, journalism, and language study.
The 10th annual event will be celebrated in Houston, Texas. Go to Chinese Language & Culture Initiatives for more information on this event and other initiatives.