“Engage the Future” — Boston Hosts 6th National Chinese Language Conference

Boston, April 10, 2013, — Featuring top-level education leaders, contemporary and traditional arts performances, school tours and more, the National Chinese Language Conference kicked off April 7 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place Hotel.
(from top left clock-wise)Hao Ping, Xu Lin, Joe Wong and Paranjpe brothers at the reception dinner.

Organized by Asia Society and the College Board, the National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC) is the largest annual gathering of K–16 practitioners, policymakers and school leaders with an interest in Chinese language teaching and learning in the United States. This year marks the conference’s sixth anniversary, and conference attendance has increased steadily from 700 attendees in 2008 to more than 1,200 in 2013. The conference theme, “Engage the Future,” spurred meaningful participation in the future of Chinese language and cultural education.

Asia Society Board of Trustees Co-Chair Henrietta Fore observed that “the U.S.–China relationship has never been more important than it is right now. Preparing young people in both countries
to communicate proficiently creates an equal playing field that is critical for ensuring a constructive U.S.–China relationship in the future. Americans who are learning Chinese and connecting with China will be the stewards of this valued relationship going forward.”

Special guests of the conference shared their insights regarding the education landscape. These guests included Hao Ping, vice minister of China’s Ministry of Education; Xu Lin, the director-general of Hanban/Confucius Institute; and Deborah S. Delisle, assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education at the U.S. Department of Education.

Conference attendees also had the opportunity to visit public, private and charter elementary and secondary schools with thriving Chinese language programs. The following Boston-area schools served as hosts: Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter Public School, Boston Renaissance Charter School, Brimmer and May, Brookline High School, Driscoll School, Josiah Quincy Elementary School, Newton South High School, and Oak Hill Middle School.

“An understanding of the Chinese language and the country’s rich history is a sign of hard work, curiosity, enthusiasm and respect,” said College Board President David Coleman. “Learning Chinese is rigorous work, and we celebrate those students and teachers who have persevered to achieve this goal.”

Given the great interest in and exponential growth of Chinese language programs in recent years, this conference seeks not only to provide professional development but also to support the sustainability of existing programs and offer insight into teaching Chinese language and culture across the curriculum.