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Bilingual recital contest promotes exchanges

By Zheng Wanyin in London | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-11-21 00:18

Judges, participants, and volunteers pose for a group photo in London, England on Sunday, at the 2nd Chinese-English bilingual recitation competition, hosted by the Mothers' Bridge of Love, a registered charity in the United Kingdom. [Zheng Wanyin / China Daily]

A Chinese-English bilingual recitation competition concluded its final round in London, England on Sunday, with 36 finalists, aged from 6 to 30, performing recitations of poetries, prose, and personal stories in both languages.

The annual event, which was held this year for the second time, was initiated by Mothers' Bridge of Love, a registered charity in the United Kingdom dedicated to building bridges between the East and West.

"On the stage, we saw young overseas Chinese showcasing their proficiency in Chinese and English, while at the same time, we also saw foreigners reciting Chinese poems. So, what we want to do is create a place where people with different cultural backgrounds can communicate with each other, as exchanges lead to understandings, and understandings lead to peace," said Gu Hongyan, a volunteer at the Mothers' Bridge of Love.

Beth McKillop, a senior research fellow and former deputy director at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, said a poem, whether it is classical Chinese or an iconic composition in the English language, can present the commonality shared between the East and West.

"Some of the Chinese poems being chosen are from Li Bai (a Chinese poet from the Tang Dynasty), and when it comes to Western poems, there are works by Emily Dickinson (a US poet who wrote during the 1800s). They were all beautifully performed, and I think they show the common humanity, as they convey a lot of common emotions in a few words," said McKillop. "We speak so much about the differences between China and the rest of the world. But it is easy to forget how much we have in common."

Seth Cook, an associate of the Food and Land Use Coalition, a self-governed community committed to transforming the global food and land use system, said people-to-people communication needs to be facilitated, especially when the world is experiencing turbulence.

"It is particularly important to have events like this, and we need more of these citizen-to-citizen exchanges at this time," he said.

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