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“I Have a Dream”: International Students Chinese Speech Contest

Peking University, Dec. 9, 2014: From December 1st to 4th, the International Students Chinese Speech Contest was held by School of Chinese as a Second Language and the Office of International Relations, Peking University. The contest, whose theme was “I Have a Dream”, was one of the highlights of the 11th PKU International Cultural Festival.


In the contest on December 4th, several participants presented images of China’s future role on the global stage. A South Korean contestant expressed his view that the Chinese Dream should be a dream which benefits the whole world. He also put forward some constructive suggestions for China, such as to increase the transparency of its foreign policies. A Japanese student expressed his anxiety about the growing tension between China and his homeland, and said that his dream is to become a diplomat and a peacemaker.


Some contestants chose to focus on major social issues in the country. Alexandra Gray, a visiting student from Stanford University, voiced her concern about “beauty economy” in China. She first got to know the term in People’s Daily and found that this is actually a worldwide phenomenon after her researches. She said that beauty economy is similar to beauty contests in that it creates the supposedly standard criteria of beauty and shakes many girls’ self-confidence. She asked people to pay more attention to the inner beauty of individuals rather than judging people by appearance only.


Rex Simons, another visiting student who majors in science of international relations at his home university in the U.S., gave a speech on environmental protection in China and America. He emphasized the significance of exchanges and cooperation among different countries in order to grapple with the increasingly serious environmental problems. He used “One Sky, One Dream” as his motto and suggested that the young people, the potential leaders of their countries, should put the idea of environmental cooperation into practice in the future.

Alexandra and Rex / Photo: Huang Lin


When asked why they chose to participate in the contest, Alexandra and Rex both said that they saw it as a golden opportunity to improve their Chinese. They said that during the past 3 months at Peking University, they had received substantial help in their Chinese studies from the teachers and giving public speeches could increase their confidence in their fluency in spoken Chinese. Rex also said that to select a truly interesting topic could definitely make the process of preparation much more enjoyable.


In their speeches, many contestants used Chinese idioms and quoted from classic ancient Chinese texts. They commented on their own experiences and described their ideas of the Chinese Dream with examples from traditional culture and history.


Reported by: Huang Lin

Edited by: Chen Jiayu