On December 22, 2022, the first Sister Cities Language and Culture Exchange and Cooperation Forum was successfully held online with the theme of “With Language as Medium and Feature of Development, To Deepen Sister Cities Cooperation”, marking the successful conclusion of the 2022 International Chinese Language Education Conference and Expo, which started on December 8. Hu Zhiping, Deputy Director-General of the Center for Language Education and Cooperation (CLEC), attended the forum and delivered a speech. Mayors and officials of sister cities from Zambia, Italy, France, Sweden, and China, as well as representatives of educational and cultural institutions and enterprises and experts participated in the conference online.
In his speech, Hu said that the friendship of nations lies in the closeness of people. Cities are the most ideal places for people to live, study and work in modern society, and they have also become the most dynamic unit in the political and economic life of a country and the center of communication with other cultures. The establishment of sister cities between different countries, the close economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation, and the facilitation of free travel between citizens will all undoubtedly contribute to the enhancement of mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples. Language is a bridge for people to communicate with each other, and a lubricant for mutual communication. If more citizens are able to master each other’s language, it will definitely lead to smoother and deeper communication between the two sides. A good cooperation platform between sister cities provides more conditions and opportunities for mutual language and culture exchange. He introduced the mission of the CLEC to provide quality services and build a cooperation platform for people around the world to learn Chinese and understand China, as well as its successful activities in many aspects. He expressed that CLEC is ready to support sister cities, design and promote “Chinese + City” projects with their own characteristics, and continuously help sister cities to achieve new development in exchanges.
In the keynote report session, Professor Fan Hong, Director of Center for National Image Communication Studies at Tsinghua University, gave a keynote speech on “Language and Culture Communication and City Brand Image Building”. Wang Jinhong, Director of the Chinese Plus, introduced new developments in international Chinese language education, and new projects and achievements such as Online Chinese Classroom and Chinese Learning and Testing Center.
During the guest speech session, several representatives of sister cities shared successful examples of Chinese language teaching and plans being implemented. Chirando Chitangara, Mayor of Lusaka, Zambia, shared the experience of deepening the interaction through language and cultural exchanges, between the sister cities among Lusaka and Dezhou, Shandong Province and Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. Laura Fincato, former deputy mayor of Venice, Italy, said that learning a language is the best way to know a country, and more and more Italians are now choosing to learn Chinese. She said she was pleased to see that the teaching of Chinese has facilitated the sister-city interaction between Venice and Suzhou, giving more opportunities for direct contact and exchange between the citizens and young people of the two cities.
Chen Shuai, deputy director of Hongkou District, Shanghai, introduced the construction of the CBD of Hongkou North Bund, the development opportunities of the North Bund and the building of the “world living room” with friends from all walks of life in China and abroad, and welcomed the “HSK Chinese Learning and Testing Center” of CLEC to settle in the “room”, providing convenience for friends in Shang Hai from various countries to learn Chinese. Bai Xilin, Vice Mayor and Standing Committee of Lanzhou City, Gansu Province, introduced the positioning of Lanzhou, known as Lanzhou Jincheng (the Gold City), being the “Open Capital of the West in the New Era”, which is ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between Lanzhou and other countries and regions in the world through language and cultural cooperation. Jiang Chuanhai, Vice Mayor and Standing Committee of Harbin Municipal Committee, Heilongjiang Province, noted that Harbin is making every effort to build “A Metropolis of Seven”, such as the metropolis of opening to the north and the metropolis of ice and snow, etc. and expected that under the support and guidance of CLEC, the international image of Harbin city will be further enhanced and the chapter of Harbin in China’s story will be well told. Chai Li, Vice Mayor and Standing Committee Member of Ankang City, Shaanxi Province, said that Ankang means “ten thousand years of happiness, peace and prosperity”, and hoped that cooperation with the CLEC would facilitate Ankang’s international development; Dai Jianwei, Executive Vice Minister of the Publicity Department of Guiyang City, Guizhou Province, focused on the Chinese traditional essence “Yangming Culture”, and put forward proposals and suggestions on the project of “Chinese + City”.
In the free exchange session, Huang Kan, President of Beijing Education Association for International Exchange (BEAIE), believed that “Chinese + City” can better display the characteristics of the city, and he highlighted the “Dual Olympic” city and the culture of the central axis, which are two unique city cards of Beijing. Wang Mei, President of Sweden-China Exchange Association in Stockholm, Sweden, introduced the current situation and development plan of Chinese language teaching in Stockholm from the perspective of developing a new pattern of international Chinese language education in Sweden. Gu Qingyang, Associate Professor of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, suggested that international Chinese language education should “sink into” and combine with enterprises and cities to provide more services in need. Fredrick Mutesa, Secretary-general of Zambia-China Friendship Association, introduced the long history of friendship between China and Zambia and emphasized the positive role of language learning and cultural exchange in promoting cooperation between the two countries.
The participants unanimously agreed that the current Sister Cities Language and Culture Exchange and Cooperation Forum, with globalization as the background and international Chinese language education cooperation as the carrier, has broadened the vision and the new cooperation channels and fields for further deepening the partnership of sister cities. They expected to take this forum as an opportunity to create a new mechanism for long-term cooperation with local governments in China and abroad, to bring into play the advantages of the city’s characteristics, to gather more resources and strengths for “Chinese +”, contributing to the high-quality development of international Chinese language education and the building of a community with shared future for mankind.
original source: http://www.chinese.cn/page/#/pcpage/article?id=1332&page=1