08 Nov, 2019
10 : 00
There is a palpable buzz of excitement in Shanghai this week, as the second annual China International Import Expo (CIIE) is taking place in the city from November 5-10, 2019 with esteemed attendees of the highest order, including China’s President Xi Jinping and foreign dignitaries, such as French President François Macron.
For two Yew Chung International School of Shanghai (YCIS) teachers, the Expo brought with it an incredible opportunity: to meet President Xi in person! As the very first foreign-funded independent international school in Shanghai, YCIS has been well established in Changning District and the community for more than a quarter of a century, and as a result, has developed a very strong relationship with, and support from local government bodies and representatives. Sharing close links with Changning District, Hongqiao Sub-District Office and the Gubei community are also extremely important to the school, and there have been many fantastic collaborations over the years with the Gubei Civic Center and the local community. Therefore, when the time came to select international teachers to represent the field of education in Shanghai at a meeting last Saturday at the Gubei Civic Center, Mr David Potter (YCIS Shanghai Puxi Secondary IB English, Psychology, Theory of Knowledge Teacher) and Ms Natalie Gray (YCIS Shanghai Puxi Primary Coordinator) were thrilled and honoured to serve as ambassadors for YCIS. Their excitement then grew in spades as they soon learned that they would have the opportunity to personally greet President Xi at the event!
It’s not every day that you get to see a world leader in real life, let alone to talk with them and shake their hand, and both Ms Gray and Mr Potter had the chance to exchange a few words in Chinese with President Xi during the event, leaving the pair delighted and a little starstruck! Please click here to view a video of the teachers meeting President Xi Jinping.
“To have the opportunity to meet President Xi was an unexpected honour and highlights the importance placed on education by the National and Local Governments,” said Mr David Potter, adding “this was undoubtedly the highlight of my career so far.” Ms Natalie Gray added: “Representing YCIS Shanghai Puxi on such an important occasion is something I will never forget. I am incredibly grateful for the amazing experiences I have had during the 6+ years I have lived in China – it is a great country. Meeting President Xi has been the highlight, and I truly appreciate that he came to meet the people of Changning District, and to showcase the incredible work done by the Gubei Civic Center.”
As if having the honour of meeting President Xi wasn’t already enough, the pair also had the opportunity to spend some time talking with senior government and community leaders about such topics as the similarities and differences between western and Chinese education and society, and about where YCIS students tend to go for their tertiary studies. Later, the teachers were interviewed by China’s leading broadcaster, CCTV, and they were featured meeting the President in a news segment detailing President Xi’s visit to Shanghai.
The international teachers and students at YCIS, along with local teachers and staff, help to form what is a truly international community at YCIS Shanghai and are always incredibly proud of being part of the wider community of the host city. As such, it is wonderful to have opportunities to further strengthen the special relationship between the school, the city, and the country. For Mr Potter and Ms Gray, the kind remarks they received from President Xi will be a memory they will always treasure.
At the same time, the excitement surrounding CIIE continued this week for representatives from Yew Chung and Yew Wah’s Executive Board, as well as members of the school leadership teams from all YCIS and Yew Wah International Education Schools (YWIES) from across China who attended the event to see the latest developments in China and around the world.
The delegation, led by Group Chairman Professor Paul Yip Kwok-wah and CEO & School Supervisor Dr Betty Chan, explored the vast National Exhibition and Convention Center site, situated in the Hongqiao CBD. There, this group of international and local educators had the chance to see the amazing array of innovation across a range of industries on display, and to get an understanding of, and be inspired by the many breakthrough developments happening in China today.
CIIE is an important event for the city, and it was an excellent opportunity for Yew Chung and Yew Wah representatives to see first-hand the exciting initiatives and future opportunities for Shanghai and China. Furthermore, it was exciting for the Board members and school leaders to see the future of the school, whose students and many staff represent the international community in Shanghai, in the context of these opportunities. Most importantly, the school leaders were thrilled to hear the themes President Xi emphasised in his opening address, which included “a shared future, international mindedness, openness, and cooperation.” These themes fit perfectly with the very values that are at the heart of Yew Chung and Yew Wah, which prepare our students to become caring global citizens, ready to be successful in the rapidly developing world around them. Based in China, Yew Chung and Yew Wah seek to nurture our students to be global citizens who concern themselves with global governance, helping fulfil China’s international responsibilities, thus contributing to world peace and the world’s civilisation.