The Irish Final of 17th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students took place in the Hotel RIU Plaza The Gresham Dublin on 7 April 2018. Candidate representing UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland took 1st prize on the day.
The event was hosted by Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) and co-organised by the Education Section of the Chinese Embassy in Ireland, UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland and UCD Irish Institute for Chinese Studies. The event was attended by distinguished guests including the Chinese Ambassador H.E. Dr. Yue Xiaoyong, UCD President Prof. Andrew Deeks, Mr. Dawei Zheng, the First Secretory, of the Head of Education Section of the Chinese Embassy to Ireland, Director and Chinese Director of the UCD Confucius Institute Prof. Liming Wang and Mr. Wei Zhang as well as local Chinese media representatives including Xinhua News Agency Irish Bureau, Huarenzhi New Media, and Emerald Media.
The Chinese Bridge Competition has been held in Ireland for nine years. It is an important platform for Chinese learners in Ireland to demonstrate their achievements of Chinese language and culture learning. This year's competition attracted a total of 19 contestants from University College Dublin, University College Cork, Maynooth University, Dublin Institute of Technology and National College of Ireland. Nearly 100 Chinese culture lovers watched the competition.
After the preliminary round, eight outstanding contestants entered the final round. Robin Healy from UCD demonstrated great command of China, winning the championship of this competition. Caoileann Ni Cheallaigh and Chloe Shortall also from UCD were awarded the second prize and Sinead Crehan and Bearnaird Cuffe from UCC and James Comaskey from UCD won the third prize. Award for the most eloquent performance went to Caoileann Ni Cheallaigh and Award for the best talent show went to Robin Healy. Niclas Stenberg and Seik Yan Choong from NUI Maynooth won Award for Best Teamwork and Nicholas Mahon from DIT received the Most Potential Award.
In the speech session, some contestants contrasted the culture between China and Ireland, while some explained the significance of music for cultural communication from personal experience. Some elaborated on friendly exchanges between peoples from various countries while some shared their experience in China and expressed that Chinese is a bridge of friendship and communication between different countries and regions and others expressed their understanding of the world family, which means the similar emotional bond and mutual assistance in life make the world a family. The contestants were eloquent and paradoxical and their speeches were profound and vivid. The audience listened carefully, and sometimes were amused by some contestants' great sense of humour.
In talent show session, wonderful performances like Chinese calligraphy, singing Chinese songs accompanied with guitar, traditional Chinese dance, Taichi and etc. were shown, leading the competition to a climax.
It is worth mentioning that this year's competition also invited Conor Henser, Alanna McManus and Leon Reilly, winners of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes for the Chinese Bridge Competition for Secondary School Students in 2018, bringing exciting talent performances.
President Deeks congratulated the winners in his speech after the competition. He also encouraged the contestants to further use their language skills in their speeches and continue to contribute to the world culture exchanges and communication.
Ambassador Dr. Yue Xiaoyong expressed his appreciation for contestants’ wonderful performances and also expressed his thanks for the presence of President Andrew and his family. He mentioned that “bridge” has a beautiful meaning in Chinese culture. The “Chinese Bridge” is a bridge of language, culture, and communication. He also pointed out that China-Ireland cooperation and exchange has achieved fruitful results and will move toward a better future. Finally, Yue expressed his gratitude to the president and staff of the University of Dublin, and teachers from the Confucius Institute who are devoted to the career of Chinese language and culture teaching.