Swire Chinese Language Foundation conference 2024

Posted by Sitara Bartle on 25 Mar 2024

Modified by Sitara Bartle on 25 Mar 2024

Swire Chinese Language Student Conference

On Friday 22nd March 2024, MGS hosted the annual Swire Chinese Language Student Conference for the third consecutive year. The conference caters to secondary school students enrolled in the Swire Chinese Language Programme (SCLP), aiming to broaden their understanding of China, educate, and inspire them.

The SCLP currently educates approximately 23,000 schoolchildren, with just over a quarter from less privileged backgrounds, across 148 schools within 12 centres nationwide. MGS leads the Manchester Centre and collaborates with eight local schools. This privately funded initiative aims to lay the groundwork for stronger UK engagement with China in the next generation.

In the morning session, attendees enjoyed a masterclass from Head of History, Mr. Ashley Hern, titled “Rethinking the Qing”, providing crucial historical context. Following a refreshing Chinese bubble tea break, delegates participated in interactive cultural workshops including dance, calligraphy, painting, music, tai chi, and mass rope-skipping.

The afternoon talks, held in a packed Memorial Hall from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm, hosted 350 delegates from across the UK. After welcoming remarks from the High Master, Dr. Martin Boulton, and Swire Chinese Language Foundation Executive Director, Mr. Edward Watson, four outstanding talks were delivered under the theme ‘Why China Matters’.

The speakers included Old Mancunian Dan Lawes (10-17), Chidimma Anyakora (First year undergraduate student – Chinese with Business & Management at the University of Manchester), Sam Hogg (Founder and Editor, Beijing to Britain), and Cindy Yu (Assistant Editor at The Spectator and host of the bi-monthly podcast Chinese Whispers). They explored topics such as building connections with Chinese people, improving Chinese proficiency, integrating China knowledge into various professions, and reflecting on identity and the Chinese diaspora.

Manchester Swire Chinese Language Coordinator, Rob Neal, expressed: “All the speakers elicited strong student engagement, dispelling illusions and discussing complex issues in a supportive environment. I hope the students left MGS enthused to continue their Chinese studies”.

Year 12 pupil James, studying Chinese at MGS, shared his experiences: “Learning Chinese at MGS has been rewarding as it offers a deeper understanding of Chinese culture and literature. The Swire Conference is crucial in dispelling misconceptions about China and connecting students with similar interests”.

A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to making this event such a success!

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