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University strengthens cultural bonds with French schools

Updated: 2024-05-07 07:47 ( China Daily )
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Students from the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations participate on Thursday in calligraphy and seal-carving activities in Paris, France, under the guidance of teachers from East China Normal University. CHINA DAILY

Students and members of the public in the French cities of Paris and Lyon recently got the opportunity to take part in a series of traditional Chinese cultural and sports events hosted by East China Normal University.

The events organized by the Shanghai-based university, held from Thursday to Monday, were aimed to further promote friendly interactions between the two peoples, especially among the younger generation, and to help promote exchanges and mutual learning between the two countries.

On Thursday, students from five French institutions of higher education and middle schools experienced seal carving under the instruction of professors and students from East China Normal University.

Laurent Long, a PhD graduate in Sinology from the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris, said that some Sino-French cultural exchange institutions had hosted calligraphy and seal-carving exhibitions and lectures for the people in France, but it was the first time that calligraphy and seal-carving interactions were provided on his campus.

"It's a lovely beginning. I believe such activities will help more French teenagers enhance their understanding of Chinese culture," he said.

Tryston Beck, a 12-year-old middle school student from Lyon, was satisfied with his work in carving a seal bearing the Chinese character zhong, or middle. "The teachers from China told me that in addition to the meaning of 'middle', the character can also refer to something excellent and awesome. It was a very cool and fun experience," he said.

A friendly badminton match was held on Sunday between a team of students led by Wang Yihan, the women's singles champion of the 2011 World Championships and a silver medalist at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and student athletes from Lyon. Wang is currently a physical education teacher at East China Normal University.

Guillaume Arnould, executive director of the New French-Chinese Institute, said it was the most popular Sino-French people-to-people exchange event held recently.

"The friendly match allowed Chinese and French youths to improve their competitive skills, enhance friendship, and sow the seeds for future cooperation and exchanges between the two sides," he said.

Teachers and students from the university also toured three schools in Lyon to exhibit Chinese kung fu and tai chi, which fascinated many local spectators and some of them also had a chance to experience it themselves.

Daniel Valero, the mayor of Genas, the area in Lyon where the schools are located, said the local residents were impressed by the event. "The tai chi practice with a ball, which was devised by the university team, was very creative and artistic," he said.

Ime Courvallain, a physical education teacher from a middle school in Lyon, said that children participating in the activities were particularly fond of the tai chi exercise with a ball.

The movements are graceful, and they ensure greater flexibility of the participants' waist and hips, she said.

Dai Liyi, vice-president of East China Normal University, said he hopes that such activities could help Chinese and French youths improve their international vision and understanding of multiculturalism.

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