ACE is an annual event which assembles hundreds of China’s top students for a week of cultural exchange with American students and lectures from high level professionals in government and academia.
he curtain has closed on the 2012 Ameson Chinese Elite Program, which gathered nearly 250 high achieving students individually selected from leading high schools across China and over 20 American students at Beijing No. 4 High School.
Held from July 23 to 30, the program included events and lectures organized by the Ameson Foundation, including the world’s first Model CPPCC, Sino-US Summit Dialogues, and lectures from well-known scholars and government officials, as well as student organized activities including a talent show, sports competitions and social events. Classes on Chinese culture and language were also organized for the visiting students.
A detailed summary of the week’s events can be found below the photo gallery.
The world’s first model-CPPCC (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee) event guided ACE students through the process used in real Chinese political organizations to identify social issues, formulate a proposal through research and discussion, and present the proposal for scrutiny by an assembly of their peers. Ten teams participated in the event, each crafting their own proposal with help from their class leaders.
I’m from the Northeast, and the education there is less developed than in some other places. I’m very honored to participate in this activity at Beijing No. 4 and experience such a multicultural environment. ACE student Edward Wang
The event began on July 24th when Qiu Guoyi, the General Secretary of the Zhigong Party Central Committee and a member of the national CPPCC delivered a speech about the history and function of the CPPCC. After a pair of elimination rounds, on the afternoon of July 29th, the final showdown took place between team 7’s proposal on garbage sorting and team 9’s proposal on improving food safety. After hearing both team’s proposals and responses to several rounds of questioning, the judges gave the title to team 7. At the ACE closing ceremony, a representative of team 7 submitted a written copy of their presentation to a CPPCC member, who will submit it to the real CPPCC and NPC for consideration later this year. For more detailed coverage of the Model CPPCC event, please click here.
One of the main features of the ACE program has always been the high level guest speakers that take time from their busy schedules to interact with students. Some of this year’s lectures included:
July 26, Owen Saxton, a Professor at the University of Cambridge gave a speech on electron microscopy
July 26, Jin Canrong, Assistant Dean of the School of International Relations at China’s Renmin University gave a speech on China’s International Diplomatic Strategy
July 27, Wang Guangqian, a specialist in irrigation and water conservation gave a speech encouraging people to better care for the Earth’s fragile river systems
July 28, Niu Wenyuan, the chief researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences gave a speech on green development
July 29, Deborah Stipek, former Dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Education gave a speech on fostering innovation in our daily lives
July 29, Wang Xuming, Director of the Language and Culture Press gave a speech on the importance of language arts education.
Each speech ended with a question and answer period, and many of the speakers stayed on after that to talk informally with students.
Sino-US summit dialogues
The Ameson Foundation recognizes the importance of understanding between the youth of China and the United States, and selected this year’s ACE students because their remarkable academic achievements in high school place them in the category of future leaders and innovators. To enhance understanding between the two countries’ youth, forums and summit dialogues were organized to give the students a platform to discuss issues of common interest to both countries.
On July 25th a panel of Chinese and American students convened to discuss “innovation and leadership”. The discussion was moderated by Doris Davis. The following day, two “Sino-US Summit Dialogues” were held on the topics of “Promoting Sino-US Understanding and Respect” and “Education for All”. During the discussions the students listened and responded to each other’s ideas, and both of the summit dialogues incited active discussions among audience members during and after the Q&A segments.
To give students a chance to display some of their other talents, ACE also featured several optional activities, including competitions in public speaking, essay writing, photography and short-film making. Starting with orientation lectures from professionals working in these fields, the students had the entire ACE period to submit their works for the essay, photography and film contests. Speech competitions were held in English and Chinese and attracted the participation of dozens of students. Winners were announced at the closing ceremony and winning students were awarded certificates and prizes.
For American students, an immersion into Chinese culture
During the event, classes in Chinese language and culture were organized for the foreign students. In these classes, students learned some elementary words and phrases to use in conversatino while in China, about the history of Chinese calligraphy and Peking Opera, and even got a chance to experiment with Chinese methods for dying cloth still used in many rural areas in China today.
Brittany Davis, who has studied Chinese for 3 years, was very interested in learning to write characters with a brush, and expressed interest in continuing to study in America. “I want to learn how to achieve the inner peace needed for calligraphy. That was really nice.”
After the Chinese students departed, the foreign students embarked on several days of sight-seeing, which included a trip to the Great Wall, a night watching acrobatics and Chinese wushu, and a walking tour of Beijing’s hutongs.
Student organized activities
One of ACE's main goals is to encourage leadership among youth. For that reason, in addition to the activities planned and organized by the Ameson Foundation, students were also given a platform to arrange their own activities.
It’s nice they have so many student-organized activities, especially the short-film contest, this is very interesting. ACE student Sun Peigen
On the first day of the program, the students elected a number of representatives to serve as a Students’ Union. These students were responsible for organizing all student-run activities, including a talent show, sports events, and social events such as a student party.
The talent show, held the 29th of July, gave students an opportunity to show off their unique talents. Many of the students organized song or dance routines, and the American students also sang a Chinese song called “Molihua”, or “Jasmine Flower”. The talent show also featured a solo performance by American student Luke LeBlanc, an aspiring singer-songwriter and guitar player.
Sports events included a relay race, football and basketball matches. Due to inclement weather in Beijing during the event, some athletic events had to be cancelled.
Another student organized event was a social mixer. Hosted by the charismatic and bilingual American student Andrew Tan, the party featured games and activities designed to draw the students closer together and cement friendships. After all the games concluded, many students stayed on engaging in casual conversation, and one student showed off his impressive break dancing skills.
This year's ACE program was bigger and more involved than ever before. With over 20 students from America and a Korean student attending high school in America, the opportunities for cross-cultural interaction were also greater than in previous years.
The Ameson Foundation extends its sincere appreciation to all of the speakers and honored guests who made this event a reality, and its best wishes to the hundreds of students who chose to spend part of their summer holidays with us.
To read more about the Ameson Chinese Elite Program, including recaps from previous years, please click here.