Chinese Language Program Hosts Third Annual “Hua Xia Cup”
With speeches built around this year’s theme of “Road,” sixty-four college students from 23 countries competed in the NYU Shanghai Chinese Language Program’s third annual Chinese Speech Contest, the “Hua Xia Cup,” on November 18.
The contestants, who were all Chinese language students from NYU Shanghai and neighboring universities such as East China Normal University (ECNU), Donghua University, Shanghai Normal University, Fudan University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and CIEE Shanghai, competed in three different skill level categories: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Students from fellow Sino-Foreign Universities such as Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University and Duke Kunshan University also traveled to Shanghai to compete against their peers.
The contestants carefully prepared their speeches before the competition.
ATEF ZEMHOl ZEKRY (Chinese name 刘子阳) from the School of International Chinese Studies at ECNU dazzled the judges with his fluency and accent. He took first place and won the title of Chinese Star in the intermediate group.
SOFIIA PALANYTSIA (Chinese name 潘智雅), from the Ukraine, competed in a cheongsam. A student at the School of International Chinese Studies at ECNU, she won third place in the intermediate group.
Lu Ye, a teacher in the NYU Shanghai Chinese Language Program, reminded a contestant that there was just 1 minute left for the speech.
Judges of the junior and intermediate groups asked contestants about their speeches.
This year’s speech theme, a single chinese character, 路 (road), inspired countless thoughtful and creative speeches - from the ancient Silk Road to today’s Belt and Road Initiative; from the physical highways we drive along to the route a thought takes through the mind.
The road in NYU Shanghai’s Hobin Kim ‘19’s speech was Century Avenue, the place after spending almost four years here, he considers his second home. “Home is a place where people can relax and embrace their true self. When I feel sleepy, I can rest in a chair with peace of mind, without worrying that others will bother me. When I am confused, I will take a walk in the corridor, meet the classmates and teachers, and chat with them to relax.”
Hobin Kim ‘19,’s road was Century Avenue, home to the NYU Shanghai campus.
Jung Hyun Park (朴亭玹), a student a ECNU and a native of South Korea, spoke of a road that is not visible to the eye: “We may walk around and encounter a dead end unintentionally, but there is no limit or restriction on our thinking. Therefore, please don’t give up when life is difficult. Keep going and by clearing up or broadening your way of thinking, you will be able to find a way out of your own.”
Kabeya Kaniki Orman (Chinese name, 奥曼 Ao Man), a student from the Democratic Republic of the Congo studying at Shanghai Normal University, impressed the judges with a warm-hearted and humorous presentation titled Man Man’s Road, a play on his Chinese name and the Chinese word for “slow.” Orman shared his wonder at the progress the world has seen in trade and travel. In Orman’s grandfather’s time, if anyone from Congo wanted to come to China, he would have to travel at least 30 days by water. But these days in Shanghai, he could eat an avocado picked in Congo just five days before, Orman noted, crediting the Belt and Road Initiative.
Advanced group contestant KABEYA KANIKI ORMAN (Chinese name 奥曼) from the Democratic Republic of the Congo praised the Belt and Road Initiative and shared his wonder at eating an avocado in Shanghai that had been harvested in Congo just five days before. He won second prize in his group.
This year’s judges said they were impressed by the Chinese language ability of all the contestants. “The level of competitors in this year’s contest is significantly higher than ever,” said Tao Jianmin, a judge from the School of International Chinese Studies at ECNU. “The junior group is more than junior; the intermediate is more than intermediate; and the senior group is even more advanced! ”
In her concluding remarks at the award ceremony, Zhang Qiyi, director of the Chinese Language Program of NYU Shanghai, commended all the participants. “The result of the contest is not that important. Whether you won a prize or not, all the contestants have had fun,” she said. “The ‘Hua Xia Cup’ has been held for three consecutive years, connecting international students who are learning Chinese in universities and colleges in Shanghai and around China.... As the contestants’ language level rise every year, NYU Shanghai will work even harder to run even better contests in the future.”
Students from Duke Kunshan University cheered on their schoolmates.
NYU Shanghai students also served as MCs for the competitions. Here, Elli Halperin ‘21 (Chinese name 何爱历) checked her script with Jaime Cantwell ‘21 (Chinese name 杨子敏) before the contest.
Contestants and Judges