President’s Report on September activity in China, 2014

Youxie Friendship Forum, Guiyang, September 1 to 5

Suzanne Billington speaking at the Friendship Forum, Guiyang, 2014.  Suzanne is a member of Tauranga branch

Suzanne Billington speaking at the Friendship Forum, Guiyang, 2014.  Suzanne is a member of Tauranga branch

The focus of the Prominent Persons and Leaders delegation this year was to attend the Youxie Friendship forum in Guiyang, Guizhou province.  Our delegation consisted of Jeanette Jones, Barbara Markland, June Wild, Carla Lindley and Kristina Eddy, all from Nelson; Craig Ashby and Kevin O’Halloran, both from Christchurch; Matt Stuart from Dunedin; Suzanne Billington from Tauranga, and myself.  Carla and Kristina were final year High School students;  Matt is a 3rd generation nephew of Rewi Alley;  Kevin and Suzanne are both primary school principals.  The other members all had valuable experience in supporting youth activities.

Youxie organised  the Friendship Forum on September 1, on the first day, with delegations from Australia, USA, Canada and Oceania participating as well as our own NZ delegation.  Of the 12 speeches by the delegations, Suzanne, Carla and myself all gave presentations under the umbrella title: “Green Life, Evergreen Friendship”.  The NZ contribution was very well received with our focus on youth in ‘evergreen friendship’.

2. Four girls in Guizhou tea plantation PP&LD 2014_IMG_3332_sm

Linda, Carla, Karen and Kristina try their hand at picking tea in a tea plantation in Guizhou province, during the Friendship Forum at Guiyang, Sep 2014. Carla and Kristina are Nelson branch members

The other four days were spent visiting the Moutai factory and a vast tea plantation, and visits to Zunyi, with its significance in the story of the Long March of the Red Army.  

Note: This year, due to Government cut-backs, the delegations were only hosted for 5 nights. 

Watch for more detailed reports from some of the delegates when they are posted. 

Shanghai: Unveiling of a Bust of Rewi Alley

The delegation then flew together to Shanghai, where we participated in the unveiling of a bust of Rewi Alley in the Qingpu district. This was organised by the Shanghai station of Gung Ho.  Among the guests were members of the Gung Ho executive from Beijing, and NZ Vice Consul General in Shanghai, Brian Hewson.  I spoke on the value of continuing the spirit of Rewi Alley into the future, and reported on a subsequent activity (see below).  Matt Stuart, representing the Alley family, was treated with great esteem, and he gave an excellent speech from his perspective as a young Alley descendant.  Matt was one of the dignitaries to uncover the bust of Rewi Alley.

3. Matt Stewart unveils Rewi Alley Bust, Qingpu, Shanghai, PP&LD 2014IMG_3359_sm

Matt Stuart (right) helps unveil the new Rewi Alley Bust, Qingpu, Shanghai, Sep 2014

The NZ delegation’s second activity in Shanghai was to visit Yong Cheng Private School, situated both in central Shanghai and with another campus on the outskirts.  This is a high-achieving school, with international awards for various extra-curricula activities, including robotics, calligraphy, and golf.  Yes, golf!  The school has a practice driving range on their small campus, where Kevin admirably represented the Kiwis!

As a result of this visit, both our primary school principals established a good relationship with Yong Cheng School, for example: their students would be welcome at Yong Cheng when they are visiting China and they are passing through to other activities, and both principals see potential for exchanges.  Discussion continued regarding a possible sister-school relationship with St Andrew’s College, Christchurch.

The delegation members then split up.  Barbara Markland organised a friend from her year’s teaching in Shanghai to take the Nelson group around Shanghai, Suzanne flew to Nanchang to participate in the education relationships that have been firmly established there by John Hodgson (Tauranga branch President), and Kevin and I came west to Shuangshipu and Baoji, Shaanxi province (see below).  

Again look for further reports from other delegates on this section of the delegation’s time together.

Sister-School relationship between Amberley Primary School, Hurunui County, Christchurch, and Shaungshipu Primary School, Feng County, Baoji.

4. Kevin O'Halloran Shuangshipu School, PP&LD 2014_IMG_3399_sm

Kevin O’Halloran (Amberley School principal and member of Christchurch branch) with pupils of Shuangshipu Primary School

Amberley Primary School is the first school that Rewi Alley attended as a five year old.  Shuangshipu school was the first Bailie School established by Rewi Alley, before it moved to Shandan.

Amberley Principal Kevin O’Halloran and I received a very warm welcome.  During the first afternoon, after a visit to classrooms and PE activity, we agreed to meet again the following morning to put together respective draft agreements.

Our agreement includes establishing student e-pals, teacher exchanges and student visits (most likely just one way from Amberley to Shuangshipu), within a two-year time-frame.  

 After a few minor adjustments, the agreement was printed, and approved by the Feng County Director of Education and a formal signing ceremony was held in the presence of other officials, followed by lunch with the county mayor.

Back in Baoji, we also visited Baoji Number One Middle School, reputedly the best in Baoji.  Very good opportunities exist for this school to become a participant in two-way exchanges.

Altogether, I can report a very satisfying outcome for NZCFS, which reflects the on-going legacy of Rewi Alley’s contributions to teaching in China. Hopefully, the pupil-to-pupil relationships will be able to continue this connection forward into the future.

Dave Bromwich, September 14, 2014

 

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