It's time to celebrate

Updated: 2014-09-29 12:08

By Hu Haidan in New York and Liu Lian in Boston(China Daily USA)

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 It's time to celebrate

Sun Guoxiang (third from right), China's Consul General to New York, is joined by Jiang Hongjian (second from left), a representative of Boston Yan Xin Life Science and Technology Association, to celebrate China's National Day on Sept 27 in Boston.  Liu Lian / China Daily

Milestones abound this year as 2014 not only marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and the 35th anniversary of the establishment of China-US diplomatic ties, but it also marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of Confucius Institutes (CI) in the US.

To properly celebrate, the Chinese Consulate in New York and the CI of the Greater New York City area co-organized a series of ceremonies reaching all the way to Boston.

It's time to celebrate

A national flag-raising celebration took place in front of Boston's City Hall with several hundred guests, community leaders, businessmen, actors and students as well as US officials in attendance on Saturday.

Sun Guoxiang, Chinese Consul General in New York, attended the celebration in Boston. He said it was his pleasure to share in the joy of the 65th anniversary with the Chinese community of Boston.

Talking about China-US diplomatic ties, Sun said: "Over the years, the US-China relationship has witnessed remarkable progress."

He also said he was looking forward to the next 35 years.

The ceremony in Boston featured interactive games, traditional arts and craft demonstrations.

Back in New York, SUNY CI welcomed more than 100 guests to Confucius Day, a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Confucius Institute on Saturday.

Among the dignitaries present were Cheng Lei, deputy consul general of China in New York; Sally Crimmins Villela, assistant vice-chancellor for Global Affairs, SUNY; Fei Chunfang, Chinese director of CI at China Institute; Liu Lening, American director of CI at Columbia University; Niu Weihua, American director at CI at Pace University; Maryalice Mazzara, American director at CI for Business at SUNY; and Jeffrey L. Philpott, American director of CI for healthcare at SUNY's College of Optometry.

Cheng Lei offered congratulations on behalf of the Chinese Consul.

"Today, we are happy to see that there are 400 CIs and 600 Confucius classrooms in more than 100 countries around the world, with around 800,000 people involved in different kinds of language programs and activities," Cheng said. "The Chinese Consulate in New York deserves praise for all its efforts to support CIs for improving mutual understanding and friendship between our two great nations and two great peoples."

"We believe that traditional Chinese culture and philosophy can provide inspiration to understanding our world, as well as to governance and moral construction," Cheng said. "It's my sincere hope that both Chinese and American scholars can make full use of this platform for the sake of the exchange of ideas and learning from each other."

Sally Crimmins Villela said universities are places where people come together and make connections.

"SUNY has a very long and special relationship with China, and with the Confucius Institute. Through extensive outreach, the Confucius Institute truly embodies the experience of political diplomacy," she said. "In higher education, we see ourselves as holding the responsibility for another diplomatic portfolio-public diplomacy. This is people-to-people diplomacy. We know that the nations are less likely to wage war on one another, when they have significant cultural, personal and economic ties. These ties are firm in higher education. Connections could last a life-time."

Carmen Farina, New York City schools chancellor sent a congratulatory letter to the ceremony. "On behalf of the New York City Department of Education, it is my honor to commemorate and congratulate CI on ten years of worldwide service on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of Education and the people of China," it read.

Farina also mentioned that "since 2004, CI has been an especially great partner to New York City, particularly as five local CIs have provided wonderful platforms that make the teaching and learning of the Chinese language and culture more accessible for the city's students, educators and other residents."

During the opening ceremony, Xu Lin, director-general of Hanban, conveyed her greetings and best wishes in a phone call from Beijing.

The series of ceremonies also included a party in Rhode Island, where Zhang Meifang, deputy consul general, celebrated with members of five CIs in the New England area.

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(China Daily USA 09/29/2014 page2)