Chinese and Foreign Youth Walk the Silk Road Again

2016-07-08 14:21:21   China Soong Ching Ling Foundation

Co-hosted by China Soong Ching Ling Foundation (CSCLF) and Communication University of China, the First "Visual Power Camp--International Youth Exchange Activity", including 30 postgraduate students from 14 countries, started their journey from Xi'an, the starting point of the Silk Road, to Lanzhou, Tianshui, and Dunhuang to explore the Chinese culture, understand the Chinese history and listen to the Chinese stories from June 20 to 28, 2016.

All camp members from the College of Journalism and Communication, Communication University of China, held an opening ceremony at the Former Residence of Soong Ching Ling on June 17. Qi Mingqiu, Standing Vice Chairman of CSCLF, and Yuan Jun, Vice President of Communication University of China, attended the ceremony and delivered speeches.

Members pose for a group photo at the opening ceremony of the camp.

The flag presentation ceremony of the camp.

Looking for Resonance in Multiculture

30 young people from different countries and with different beliefs walked the Silk Road that witnessed the mixture of ancient Chinese and Western civilizations. And students from different cultural backgrounds found the origins of their own cultures there.

Tehreem from Pakistan discussed about Ramadan with local Muslims at the night market in Lanzhou, and understood the Muslim culture shared in different countries. Amila from Sri Lanka, stood in front of the giant Buddha statue in Maijishan Grottoes, Tianshui. His Buddhism belief made him find the resonance in his mind. Muhamed from Sudan was not only invited to attend a birthday party of a local Muslim girl, but also sent his best wishes to her in Dunhuang.

Tehreem poses for a group photo with an old Muslim at the night market in Lanzhou.

Civilizations from West Asia, South Asia, and East Europe had mixed with Chinese civilization on the Silk Road. Not only the Islamic culture, but the Buddhist culture, Greek civilization, Persian civilization as well as advanced western science and technology, had been introduced to China through the road, becoming a part of Chinese culture, and influencing China's development and progress. At the same time, the road also introduced the Chinese civilization to the world. Nowadays, under the "One Belt One Road" national strategy, the Silk Road has once again become a bridge between Chinese and world civilizations. Camp members from 14 countries also found resonance between Chinese and their own cultures during the camp activities.

Understand China in Immersive Experience

The internationalized camp experienced colorful traditional Chinese culture. Each part of the journey showed rich cultural connotation, which impressed both foreign and Chinese students.

Students visit a pottery workshop in Maiji Mountain.

Tehreem participates in the performance with a folk Qinqiang opera troupe.

The precious journey helped foreign camp members understand Chinese culture. Gabriela from Panama thanked the journey to let her know the genuine Chinese culture and learn more China-related knowledge at the closing ceremony. Tehreem said she was impressed by the rich Chinese culture and China's efforts in cultural preservation at the same time. She hoped to learn more Chinese culture in the future. Pratiwi is an Indonesian Chinese. She said this journey was more like a root-seeking journey. And the "one-on-one" exchange mode helped Chinese and foreign students know each other, exchange thoughts, and understand different cultures more deeply.

Foreign students learn calligraphy.

Chinese students introduced the Chinese culture to foreign students, using their expertise to help foreign partners understand Chinese history and traditions more deeply. 30 students studied and recorded their experiences together in the 8-day journey.

Camp members help each other pitch the tent on the Mingsha Mountain.

"Chinese students are proud of being a part of the cultural exchange journey, introducing Chinese culture to their foreign friends." Bai Fan, a Chinese student, said his most profound feeling was that culture is like a bridge connecting between Chinese and foreign students, letting them achieve new understanding towards Chinese and world culture through dialogues and communication.

Camp member Kassim experiences an ancient Chinese instrument.

Camp members learn the knowledge about Dunhuang dance and music in Dunhuang Academy.

Chinese students introduce the carving art of Maiji Mountain Grottoes.

Understand the World through Communication

The training camp held a photography competition in the Fuxi Temple, in Tianshui on June 22. Amila from Sri Lanka won the first prize of the competition. She took a photo showing Kassim from Tanzania and a Chinese old woman use smartphone to take photos of each other, which featured the communication between Chinese and other cultures, from exploring each other to walking towards each other. Vlad from Ukraine won the second prize. His photo showed the Chinese people worshiping Emperor Fuxi. From his point of view, the expression of Emperor Fuxi was just like the expression of local people when they saw these foreign faces. Although there was different understanding of the Fuxi Statue, students showed respect to Vlad's different cultural understanding.

The photo by Amila wins the first prize.

Students receive the prize.

During three days' journey in the desert, students not only experienced training programs like camping and hiking, but also realized the preciousness of water resources and hot weather in the desert. The hard journey helped them understand how difficult to open the Silk Road, and impressed them by the gorgeous Silk Road that connecting the past and the present, at home and abroad. 

Camp members pose for a group photo on the Maiji Mountain.

David was born in the US, but he was very interested in Chinese culture. He expressed his feelings toward the desert through a poem on the last day of the journey:

With my horse, saddle and caravan

I have returned from Persia

With dates, saffron and wine

I will make a fortune

The ancient Yangguan ruins.

A director from Beijing TV Station interviews and shoots a video in the night market in Lanzhou.

Students in the camera team shoot videos at the Mingsha Mountain.

The camp also organized many interesting competitions and matches during the 8-day journey. After the journey, every student would make his or her own video to record the journey. Students major in photography in the Communication University of China formed a camera team led by teachers. They shot video footages of the whole journey and captured a lot of interesting and precious moments. The team showed their video in the sharing meeting, which got unanimous recognition from teachers and students. Under teachers' instruction, they would spend their summer vacation editing the video footages recording the training camp. A related documentary is planned to show on Beijing TV.