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Center honors Helen Foster Snow

By Linda Deng in Cedar City, Utah | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-10-09 21:48

Guests at the opening ceremony of the Helen Foster Snow Cultural Center at Southern Utah University on Friday night look at a photo exhibition of her life. [Photo by LINDA DENG/CHINA DAILY]

Green, whose son has learned Chinese, spoke highly of the center's purpose of promoting Chinese-language learning.

SUU Professor of Engineering Richard Cozzens told China Daily, "I feel really embarrassed that I didn't know Helen Foster Snow, since she was born and raised in Cedar City and had connections with Xi'an, the Chinese city I had visited before."

Cozzens started teaching Chinese students at Wuhan Polytechnic University in 2016 for an educational program between the two universities.

He said that visiting China and interacting with Chinese people in person is key to cultural exchanges because "the ideas you get from news media is kind of a slanted story. When you go there, you have a real experience that gives you totally different perspectives."

Wen Ouyang, executive director of the Helen Foster Snow Cultural Center said, "The center will continue Helen's remarkable legacy of bridge-building and spirit of international friendship by teaching the Chinese language and exposure to Chinese culture, strengthening economic ties between Utah and China as well as Cedar City and China, and fostering people-to-people exchange.

"Proficiency in the Chinese language has already been recognized as one of the most important skills for young people in the 21st century," Wen said. "It is one of the center's missions to provide Chinese-language instruction to K-12 and college students and help them become proficient in it."

Born in 1907 in Cedar City, Snow left for China in 1931 and lived there through World War II. She married journalist Edgar Snow in 1932 and began writing about what she witnessed in a country. Her detailed accounts of life in modern China have become a valuable historical record.

She is also known as the initiator of the Gung Ho (or Indusco) movement to empower Chinese people to resist the Japanese invasion in 1937 and for her important role in establishing the Shandan Peili School in China's Gansu province.

Snow was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize twice for her work in China. In June 1996, she was honored by the Chinese government as a Friendship Ambassador, one of China's highest honors for foreign citizens.

In November 2009, the US-China Cultural Exchange Committee placed a 7-foot-tall bronze statue of Helen Foster Snow in the Main Street Park in Cedar City, a 10-minute walk from the new cultural center.

Congratulatory videos by An Wei, founder of the Edgar and Helen Snow Studies Center; Lihong Guo, president of Northwest University; and Snow’s best friend Sharon Crain were displayed at the ceremony.

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