The 11th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Midwest U.S. high school students was held at Valparaiso University in the Midwest U.S. state of Indiana on the weekend, with over 41 contestants from five states participating the annual event.
The Chinese Consulate General in Chicago partnered with the Confucius Institute at Valparaiso University and Phoenix Tree Publishing Inc. to host the competition which was staged before a jury of 10 and the audience of about 120 people.
Liu Jun, Chinese Deputy Consul General in Chicago, highly praised the organizer for their efforts and efficiency in preparing for the contest, saying it not only shows the popularity and development of Chinese language and culture in the United States, but provides excellent candidates for the final competition in Beijing.
"Through this competition, I hope the contestants could become promoter of Sino-U.S. relationship, playing an active role bridging the two countries," said Liu.
He noted that learning Chinese becomes more and more important with accelerated pace of globalization and rapid development of Chinese economy. "As bilateral relationship between China and the U.S. becomes most important in the world, young people in the two countries need to understand and learn from each other."
"For American students, learning Chinese language and experiencing Chinese culture has been the best way to promote understanding of China and enhance communications with Chinese people." Liu remarked.
This year's competition featured speech contest, written test, Chinese cultural talent show, impromptu speech contest and Quiz section about Chinese comprehensive knowledge.
Amina Shafeek-Horton, a girl at Culver High School of Indiana, emerged as overall champion in the high level group after performing Chinese instrument zither.
"I feel happy and highly inspirited in learning Chinese, and my mom always encourage me to do what I like, no matter practicing oral Chinese, singing, or playing basketball." She told Xinhua.
Horton will join contestants from other parts of the world to participate in the finals of Bridge Competition to be held in Beijing in the middle of this year.