Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / World / China-US

School bonds bring nations closer together

By LINDA DENG in Tacoma, Washington | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-11-23 10:12
Share - WeChat
Lincoln High School students pose with gift pandas from Sichuan province at an event celebrating the friendship between Washington State and Sichuan in Tacoma on Monday. LINDA DENG/CHINA DAILY

Cultural event underlines importance of youth exchanges between China, US

A splendid evening celebrating the enduring friendship and partnership between Washington State and Sichuan province unfolded at Lincoln High School this week.

The event on Monday, a collaborative effort by the US-China Youth and Student Exchange Association, the school and the Sichuan government, showcased the talents of the Lincoln High School choir.

The gathering also featured heartfelt greetings from Chinese students who had previously visited Washington, conveyed through videos, and presentations from Lincoln students sharing their exchange experiences with their Chinese counterparts.

The teenagers serenaded guests with songs in both Chinese and English.

The occasion served as a reminder of a call made by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his 2015 visit to Lincoln High School, urging the youth of both nations to strengthen exchanges and contribute to China-US relations.

The event gained even more significance with President Xi attending the China-US summit and the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting. President Xi emphasized the importance of advancing people-to-people exchanges on various occasions during his stay in San Francisco.

During a welcome event hosted by the Youth and Student Exchange Association of Washington in San Francisco on Nov 16, the Lincoln High School choir presented a painting to President Xi and his wife Professor Peng Liyuan, who also visited the school in 2015, through a Chinese official. The artwork featured Chinese elements such as giant pandas and traditional gateways, and symbols representing Washington State, including the iconic Space Needle.

"It was one of the best experiences ever. It was just so cool to represent the school, represent Washington State, and thinking of this opportunity … if me not going to China, my sister, my youngest sister, going to China," said Isaiah Long, an 11th grader at Lincoln High, who presented the gift when he was in San Francisco.

Lynn Eisenhauer, arts facilitator of Tacoma Public Schools who had accompanied students to visit China three times before the San Francisco trip, said she feels like it may take her students years to understand what they had just experienced.

"My hope in looking at what will come next is that each of these connections that we have made over the course of eight years … my hope is that with each of these threads that connects, we find the next thread to connect, and the next group of children will get the same opportunity," Eisenhauer said.

Expressing hope

Zhang Jianmin, China's consul general in San Francisco, joined the event online, expressing hope for the enduring friendship between the two countries and anticipating more exchanges in the near future.

China, as announced by President Xi in San Francisco, is ready to welcome 50,000 young people from the US for exchange and study programs over the next five years, fostering increased exchanges between the two peoples, particularly among youth.

Patrick Erwin, principal of Lincoln High School, said he believes the 50,000 exchange students will happen soon.

"I've been to Chengdu four times, I believe. Amazing place, amazing food, amazing people. Our students were so excited to see the pandas. So on WeChat, WhatsApp, they still correspond with their friends. So, again, travel is a great teacher," Erwin said at the event.

The friendship between Washington and Sichuan can be dated back to as early as 1982.

"I know that Lincoln High School will probably continue its relationship … because our two peoples need to get to know each other and we don't have to stare down each other in this power struggle," Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs told China Daily.

"We want to foster this cooperation and this cultural exchange between our two peoples to break down these walls that we have."

Most Viewed in 24 Hours
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349