The 10th “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Irish Secondary School Students was held in Cork on March 11th , 2017. Co-organised by the UCC Confucius Institute (CI) and the UCC School of Asian Studies, the competition attracted over 100 students from Dublin, Cork, Galway and other regions. The Competition was also attended by distinguished guests including Cllr. Des Cahill, Lord Mayor of Cork; Prof. Xiaochuang Wu, the First Secretary of the Education Section of the Chinese Embassy; Prof Yongqiang Cai, Chinese Director of UCD Confucius Institute; Mr Yongbin Xia, Chinese Director of UCC Confucius Institute.
In his opening address Cllr. Cahill appreciated the strong cultural and educational collaboration and exchanges between Cork and Shanghai as twinning cities. He also stressed that the two Confucius Institutes in Ireland have played a key role in promoting youth exchange between the two countries. Prof Xiaochuang Wu pointed out in his speech that an increasing number of Irish students are learning Chinese language and culture, that 100 Irish students will be on their way to Shanghai in April for a 2-week Easter camp. Prof Wu hoped that Irish students will enjoy learning Chinese and promoting the Sino-Irish friendship.
The 15 candidates representing UCD CI performed well in the 3-part-competition, namely, individual speech, talent show and Chinese culture quiz. One of them won first prize, two won second and third prizes. Jason Dolye spoke about his deep fondness for China with his fluent Chinese and lively presentation style; he also played a beautiful Chinese song called Myth on the ancient Chinese musical instrument Guzheng. His excellent Chinese and talent won the hearts of the Panel and the audience. Another contestant Liam McManus spoke of the universal language of music which crosses the boundaries of language and nation. His interpretation of Chinese music on classical guitar captured the attention of the whole audience. Alberto García Pérez told the audience how he fell in love with learning Chinese; he also explained the meaning of the Chinese character for ‘beautiful’ with a story about a beauty contest in the animal world and concluded that ‘beautiful’ in Chinese refers to a big sheep. The two first prize winners of the competition will represent Ireland to participate in the ‘Chinese Bridge’ Chinese Proficiency Competition Final held in China.
‘Chinese Bridge’ is a bridge for communications and friendship between China and Ireland; it opens the door for Irish secondary school students to learn about China.