Dennis M. Delehanty (丹尼斯), received a B.A. in Russian from Colby College in 1974 and received a M.A in Russian Studies/ International Affairs from George Washington University in 1978. He also is fluent in Spanish and French and besides Russian, has extensive knowledge of Mandarin, Portuguese, German. In 1979, Dennis entered U.S. Postal Service headquarters as a junior international affairs officer, and from 1986 to 1992, worked as the sole American at the Universal Postal Union in Bern, Switzerland, the only UN specialized agency where French remains the official language. Returning to the Postal Service in Washington, Dennis led the effort to create the UPU’s Express Mail Service Cooperative, a rare institution within the UN system where weighted voting applies. In 2004, Dennis was appointed Director of Postal Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, where he served as the principle official responsible for U.S. policy regarding international postal and delivery services. During his career, Dennis has taken part in or led U.S. delegations to dozens of postal (and private-sector delivery service) conferences throughout the world, and retired from government service in 2012. Dennis had visited 70 countries, either solely for business or personal travel. Dennis’s choice of a dream career, regardless of the position title, would one where he could help to improve relations between the American and Chinese peoples.
Even though Victoria Sullivan has been studying Mandarin and Chinese culture for a few years, this trip was her first time in China. She appreciated the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of everyday Chinese life and people to people exchange that will enhance her language and culture education.
“This trip was uniquely special to me because I am currently studying Mandarin at my high school, Stanton College Prep. This trip was a great way for me to practice my Mandarin as well as have firsthand experiences that would further connect me to the Chinese culture. During this trip, I visited many historical sites and interacted with many local Chinese people which opened my eyes to life in China.”
The Confucius Classroom at James Weldon Johnson Middle School sponsored by the University of North Florida
Victoria Sullivan is currently taking Pre-IB Mandarin. She is interested in Chinese culture and language because it is fascinating and helps broaden her knowledge of the world. Although learning the language is difficult at times, she also finds it enjoyable and captivating. Global education is important to her because she wants to learn about other cultures outside of her own. Global education has also led to many life changing opportunities for her, including this trip to China.
Confucius Institute at College of William and Mary
Isabelle is currently fluent in Mandarin and French and won the University of Maryland’s Chinese Bridge Language Competition in 2018, for both High School and Middle School students in the region. She has worked in several movies, television programs and commercials in the last few years as well. She is a private pilot, working toward her full license at age 17 and just enrolled at Laurel Springs High School in their Gifted and Talented program, a self-study high school.
Michael discovered a passion and community around Chinese language and culture in high school and college, but he had never been able to travel to the country that had such an influence on his life. Through this trip, he found that he enjoyed traveling, and his experiences in Chinese language classrooms and relationships with Chinese teachers had prepared him well to feel comfortable in China.
“Personally I have never been abroad or even flew on a plane before. The entire experience, every aspect of it was something new to me. The people to people trip was unique in that we had a chance to interact with Chinese people. Most guided tours or even vacations never have that opportunity. This way we get to experience the real China. “
Confucius Institute at Texas Southern University
Michael Flores (夫乐）attended Texas Southern University, a proud Historically Black College and University (HBCU) where he majored in history with a minor in Chinese studies. He originally learned Mandarin in high school at Bellaire Homeschool located in Houston Texas. Michael received the People-to-People Award in 2017 after spending a year as a Confucius Institute student and enjoyed every minute of his experience. Michael is currently pursuing a law degree with an emphasis on international law and aspires to become a U.S Diplomat in China.
Through this trip, Kiietti’s understanding of Chinese people and culture expanded and grew in complexity and nuance. Reflecting on food, clothing, education, and history Kiietti compared Chinese and U.S. culture. From her childhood as a little girl growing up in rural Georgia, she never thought she would be able to have the opportunities to explore the diversity of our world as she has been able to as an adult.
“I actually began this journey years ago as a little girl who missed diversity and didn’t even know it was missed. Today, I am a grown-up little girl still who marvels at diversity because she sees herself and hers in the very lives of those she knew little about and then only from the media or television. People to people connections are important because through each other, we gather, we garner, we establish strength to persevere, to create, to survive, to thrive, to make beautiful music, creations, and discoveries.”
Confucius Institute at Alabama A&M University
My name is Kiietti Walker-Parker, and I am currently teaching English composition and writing at Alabama A&M University. I am also a writer of fiction and poetry as well. I work with freshman students, those who are just leaving home and embarking on education and professional careers after high school. I love to write and aim to foster that love and the necessity of excellent communication and written skills to my students as well as through my writing. I love history, travel, and meeting new people, and through my writing I aim to bring various communities and their respective histories to those who read or hear my work. Since Spring 2018, I have been invested in learning what I wished I had the opportunity to do when I was little. I believe that we are all intrinsically connected and are dependent on one another for survival and enrichment. We each bring a uniqueness and ingenuity to one another in terms of our own-selves, genders, customs, cultures, communities, nations, continents, and just simple livelihoods to the table to solve problems, enhance the environments in which we live, and enrich the globe. I started learning Chinese in spring 2018 and have been amazed as I was challenged. I am devoted to improving my knowledge of the Chinese language, pronunciation, character writing, and culture and customs. I am finding that the Chinese people are so much more than what my limited and restricted knowledge perceived: food, martial arts, and mystery. I am learning that the Chinese people and I have much in common: hard work, love of family and tradition, and scholarship (calligraphy, studying, art, music, dance, opera, cooking, history, and so much more).
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