Clarence Johnson wins Confucius Institution proficiency competition
By Lincoln G. Peters
The Confucius Institution of the People’s Republic Republic based on the University of Liberia (UL) Capitol Hill campus with its sponsor, China’s Embassy near Monrovia, over the weekend held its 21st “Chinese-Bridge” Chinese proficiency competition for foreign college students in Liberia.
Clarence S. Johnson emerged as the grand prize winner of this year’s competition, awaiting to represent Liberia at the Global final in China.
The Chinese-Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for foreign college students is a large-scale international Chinese competition sponsored by the Center for Language Education and Cooperation in China.
The theme of the 21st Chinese-Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition is “One World, One Family: Building a Bridge of Friendship Between China and Liberia.”
The program was graced by the President of the University of Liberia, Rev. Dr. Julius S. Nelson, Jr., Chinese Ambassador to Liberia Ren Yisheng, and Mr. Tarnue M. Bongolee, Assistant Minister of Education, among others.
The Chinese-Bridge Chinese proficiency competition aims at providing a stage for Liberian college students to show their Chinese language skills, creating a platform for mutual learning and communication, inspiring students’ passion and interest in learning Chinese, and enhancing their understanding of Chinese language and culture.
This Chinese Bridge is now an important platform for international college students to learn the Chinese language and understand more about China.
It also serves as a bridge to help young people in the world better communicate with one another.
This year’s competition which occurred via Zoom had two stages which include Overseas Preliminary Rounds and the Global Finals in China.
Contestants are Liberian college students aged between 18 and 30, who were born and grew up outside China and whose native language is not Chinese.
In principle, contestants of the previous Global Finals are not permitted to participate in two consecutive competitions.
This year’s final has eight contestants namely, Clarence S. Johnson who won the grand prize, Dwilson K. Zawol, Koso Wilson Joshua, emerged as first prize winner and Maxwell Sam Johnson and A. Layee Kelleh, who also emerged as third prize winner.
The competition is divided into the preliminary and the final. The preliminary takes the form of an online written test, and those with excellent results can advance to the final.
The final consists of three parts: Chinese speech, knowledge quiz and talent show. The scoring of each part is as follows: Chinese speech (40%), knowledge quiz (25%), and talent show (35%). After the three parts are scored, a rank of winners will be obtained according to the scores.
All the contestants of the Liberian final will be rewarded with certificates.
The champion will be eligible to represent Liberia to participate in the Global Finals of the 21st Chinese-Bridge Competition in China.
Remarking at the Zoom Final, Chinese Amb. to Liberia Ren Yisheng expressed thanks and appreciation to the eight constants, adding that language is a bond that connects people together through time and space.
According to Amb. Ren, in recent years, enthusiasm for learning the Chinese language has been growing worldwide, and more and more Liberian friends are joining the ranks of Chinese learners.
He said he is convinced that, as devoted learners of this language, you must have discovered its beauty and the rich history and cultural heritage embodied in each Chinese character and get to learn about China’s five-thousand-year long civilization and the value of peace and harmony that are deeply rooted in the blood of Chinese culture and Chinese people.
Amb. Ren said in recent years, President Xi Jinping has proposed the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, together with the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative (GDI).
Not long ago, Amb. Ren said, President Xi also proposed the Global Security Initiative (GSI). The nature behind these new visions echoes the traditional Chinese philosophy of pursuing harmony, peace and win-win cooperation as well as the topic of the competition “One World, One Family,” said Amb. Ren.
He pointed out that these visions help them to foster a new type of security and co-existence and common development that replace confrontation, alliance and a zero-sum approach with dialogue, partnership and win-win results.
Dear friends, I see “Chinese Bridge” as a bridge of dialogue and exchange between the people of China and Liberia who enjoy traditional friendly ties,” said Amb. Ren.
As the world undergoes profound changes, and multi-polarity, economic globalization and cultural diversity gain momentum, Amb. Ren said he believes that only the world is seen as one family, a community can be built with a shared future for mankind and a more secure and brighter future can be created for the world.
Also remarking, University of Liberia President Rev. Dr. Julius S. Nelson, Jr., and the Assistant Education Minister, Mr. Tarnue M. Bongolee, thanked the Confucius Institution and the People’s Republic of China through its Embassy near Monrovia for the many support.
They added that it’s no secret that China has gradually emerged to be one of Liberia biggest partners.
“China has supported and continues to support every fabric of our society from infrastructure to health, and education,” the Liberian officials said.
“We are excited that today our college students can now learn the Chines language and culture without going to China. We want every contestant here to do their best and make Liberia proud. This is a golden opportunity and let us all fight to make ourselves and country proud,” they concluded.