TRENDING World cultural festival reflects China's growing international influence

TRENDING

World cultural festival reflects China's growing international influence

By Du Mingming | People's Daily app

17:28, November 08, 2018

Video: shot by Zhao Dantong and Liu Xiaochi; edited by Zhao Dantong

BEIJING (People’s Daily) — A world cultural festival kicked off in Beijing on Sunday, attracting diplomats from more than 30 countries and students from 101 countries and regions.

Themed“Break the Time Bonds, Waltz the World in BLCU,” the 15th World Cultural Festival of Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) provided participants and visitors a grand cultural feast on May 20.  

The festival included a parade involving foreign students from 101 countries and regions showing off their national flags and traditional garb, an opening ceremony, more than 70 performances by students and a mini expo demonstrating history, customs, music, dance, handcrafts, food and drinks, body painting and more from different countries. 

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International students dance during the parade at the 15th World Cultural Festival of Beijing Language and Culture University on May 20, 2018. (Photo: People's Daily app)

Liu Li, president of BLCU, said at the opening ceremony that the festival created a platform for students from around the world to communicate with each other, understand diverse cultures and enhance mutual exchanges and friendships.

BLCU is known as the mini-United Nations for its large proportion of international students. The university has taken full advantage to promote mutual communication among Chinese and international students. 

Giacomo Oreglia, a student representative from Italy, said,” [At BLCU], I have made friends from all over the world, learned a lot and broadened my horizon. I have realized that all cultures can be different, but can coexist in harmony and can eliminate all stereotypes.”

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Student representatives show their national flags at the opening ceremony of the 15th World Cultural Festival of Beijing Language and Culture University on May 20, 2018. (Photo: BLCU)

In addition to academics, the university also bonds the students together in terms of volunteer services and school club activities. 

Building a world-class university specializing in language education is the unshakable mission of the BLCU faculty and students, Liu added.

Yang Tianqiao, secretary of the Youth League Committee at BLCU, said that although many universities in China now have similar international cultural festivals, the one held by BLCU enjoys the longest history and is the most influential, involving more than 100 countries and regions in recent years. 

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Students perform “Rise of the Dragons, Leap of the Tigers” at the 15th World Cultural Festival of Beijing Language and Culture University on May 20, 2018. (Photo: People's Daily app)

Such cultural festivals are conducive to cultivating international talent, as well as strengthening mutual understanding and cultural exchanges, said Yang. 

Since its launch in 2004, the number of countries and regions that participated in BLCU's annual world cultural festival has increased from about 20 to more than 100, serving as a remarkable witness to China’s growing international influence and the development of the country's international cultural exchanges. 

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Students sit in the Poland booth at the 15th World Cultural Festival of Beijing Language and Culture University on May 20, 2018. (Photo: People's Daily app)

Statistics from China's Ministry of Education show that in 2017, about 489,200 international students studied at Chinese universities, an increase of 10 percent for two consecutive years. In addition, more students consider staying in China or seeking China-related jobs after graduation. 

Emma Culkin, 22, is a freshman at BLCU. When asked why she studies Chinese and came to China, the British woman said, “China has become very strong and lots of people in the UK are beginning to study Chinese, even children in kindergartens.” It's her first time to celebrate the cultural festival, and she felt very excited to have such a good opportunity to get to know other cultures. 

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Visitors enjoy Macedonian food at the 15th World Cultural Festival of Beijing Language and Culture University on May 20, 2018. (Photo: People's Daily app)

Kovalchuk Arthur, 20, is from Russia’s coastal city Vladivostok. Having studied Chinese for two years, one year in Harbin and one year of preparatory education at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, he will study in a bachelor’s program for business administration over the next three years. "I will stay in China after graduation if I can find a job here,” he said. 

Kataria Sanjana, 24, will get a certificate for her one-year of Chinese study at BLCU and return to her hometown of New Delhi, India, in July. Her work experience at the Chinese mobile phone company OPPO in India inspired her to study Chinese in China. She told the People's Daily app that she would like to seek a job related to China when she's back in India.

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Visitors enjoy body painting at the Pakistan booth at the 15th World Cultural Festival of Beijing Language and Culture University on May 20, 2018. (Photo: People's Daily app)

The university enjoys the longest history, and is the largest school for teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, along with the promotion of Chinese culture. Every year, about 10,000 students come to study at BLCU. As of 2017, more than 200,000 students from over 180 countries and regions have studied Chinese and Chinese culture in this university. Many of them are now well-known in the academic, political and business fields. 

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Students get their cultural festival “passports” stamped at the Egyptian booth at the 15th World Cultural Festival of Beijing Language and Culture University on May 20, 2018. (Photo: People's Daily app)

"To deepen exchanges, we must first fully understand ourselves and have a significant understanding and firm confidence in our profound traditional and modern culture," Liu noted. 

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Handcraft showcased at the 15th World Cultural Festival of Beijing Language and Culture University on May 20, 2018. (Photo: People's Daily app)

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Visitors pose at the 15th World Cultural Festival of Beijing Language and Culture University on May 20, 2018. (Photo: People's Daily app)

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Students pose in front of the Italian booth at the 15th World Cultural Festival of Beijing Language and Culture University on May 20, 2018. (Photo: Courtesy of Wang Danhua)

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