Boston Hosts 6th National Chinese Language Conference: Engage the Future

Conference Called For Meaningful Participation In The Future Of Chinese Language And Cultural Education 04/10/2013

NEW YORK — Featuring top-level education leaders, contemporary and traditional arts performances, school tours and more, the National Chinese Language Conference kicked off April 7 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place Hotel. 

Organized by Asia Society and the College Board, the National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC) is the largest annual gathering of K–16 practitioners, policymakers and school leaders with an interest in Chinese language teaching and learning in the United States. This year marks the conference’s sixth anniversary, and conference attendance has increased steadily from 700 attendees in 2008 to more than 1,200 in 2013. The conference theme, “Engage the Future,” spurred meaningful participation in the future of Chinese language and cultural education. 

Asia Society Board of Trustees Co-Chair Henrietta Fore observed that “the U.S.–China relationship has never been more important than it is right now. Preparing young people in both countries to communicate proficiently creates an equal playing field that is critical for ensuring a constructive U.S.–China relationship in the future. Americans who are learning Chinese and connecting with China will be the stewards of this valued relationship going forward.” 

Special guests of the conference shared their insights regarding the education landscape. These guests included Hao Ping, vice minister of China’s Ministry of Education; Xu Lin, the director-general of Hanban/Confucius Institute; and Deborah S. Delisle, assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education at the U.S. Department of Education. 

Conference attendees also had the opportunity to visit public, private and charter elementary and secondary schools with thriving Chinese language programs. The following Boston-area schools served as hosts: Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter Public School, Boston Renaissance Charter School, Brimmer and May, Brookline High School, Driscoll School, Josiah Quincy Elementary School, Newton South High School, and Oak Hill Middle School. 

“An understanding of the Chinese language and the country’s rich history is a sign of hard work, curiosity, enthusiasm and respect,” said College Board President David Coleman. “Learning Chinese is rigorous work, and we celebrate those students and teachers who have persevered to achieve this goal.”

Given the great interest in and exponential growth of Chinese language programs in recent years, this conference seeks not only to provide professional development but also to support the sustainability of existing programs and offer insight into teaching Chinese language and culture across the curriculum.

 Attendees enjoyed performances from celebrated Boston comedian Joe Wong, the Voices of Renaissance choir, the winners of the International Chinese Bridge Student Competition, and the Medfield Jazz Band, which will be taking its first trip to China this month.

 Additional highlights of the 2013 National Chinese Language Conference included an address by the president of Northeastern University, Joseph Aoun, and a panel on the future of education in China and the United States with Jonathan Landman, assistant commissioner for teaching and learning at the Massachusetts Department of Education; Kai-ming Cheng, professor and chair of education at the University of Hong Kong; and Yin Houqing, deputy director-general at the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission.

Asia Society’s Chinese Language Initiatives began in 2005 with the goals of establishing an infrastructure for the growth of Chinese language teaching in the United States and creating a foundation for a constructive and cooperative U.S.–China relationship into the future by promoting educational and cultural exchanges among students and education leaders in China and the United States. These initiatives include a collaborative network of 30,000 students in more than 100 schools in 28 states that teach Chinese as part of a broader global strategy for students. Each of the U.S. schools in this Confucius Classrooms Network is partnered with a school in one of 23 provinces and municipalities in China. To find out more about Asia Society, including the full text of Chinese Language Learning in the Early Grades: A Handbook of Resources and Best Practices for Mandarin Immersion, please visit https://asiasociety.org/china-learning-initiatives.

The College Board and Hanban launched the Chinese Guest Teacher Program to support the growth of Chinese education in the U.S. by staffing Chinese programs with qualified, experienced Chinese language teachers. The Chinese Guest Teacher Program is the largest visiting Mandarin teacher program in the U.S., and it helps build a solid foundation for the Advanced Placement Program® Chinese Language and Culture course. Participation in AP® Chinese Language and Culture has nearly tripled in the years since it was first offered in 2007. For the 2012-13 academic year, 172 teachers are in service at over 245 elementary, middle and high schools across 31 states. Since 2007, almost 700 guest teachers have served in the program and have reached over 100,000 students. Since 2006, the Chinese Bridge Delegation has enabled approximately 3,000 U.S. educators to visit China to observe schools and cultural sites, participate in workshops, and meet with Chinese and U.S. educators to form educational ties. In 2012, over 400 educators participated, representing 39 states. These initiatives have also provided scholarship-funded professional development for nearly 450 teachers.


 Media Contacts:

Leslie Sepuka                 The College Board          646-306-4475      [email protected]

Chris Livaccari               Asia Society                  646-919-7912      [email protected]


Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning 

Asia Society is the leading global and pan-Asian organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders and institutions of the United States and Asia. The Society seeks to increase knowledge and enhance dialogue, encourage creative expression, and generate new ideas across the fields of arts and culture, policy and business, and education. The Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning develops youth to be globally competent citizens, workers and leaders by equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed for success in an increasingly interconnected world. Visit: www.asiasociety.org/education.