I am Mark Levine, an American who lived and worked in China since 2005.
I want to give my best wishes for the 2013 Cultural Cultivation Season of the Beijing International Youth Camp. With the help and cooperation of many, I am sure it will be a great success.
It is a beautiful, happy day but it is important that we stop and think about those for whom it is not so happy. The 5th anniversary of the Wenchuan Earthquake is approaching and we are faced with yet another terrible earthquake in Sichuan Province. We must keep those who were lost in our minds and find ways to help the survivors as they work to rebuild their communities, their homes and their lives.
I came to China to teach English. Soon after arriving I began to express my feelings though music and have written many songs about life here. Through singing, teaching and traveling I have been in 19 provinces and have met many students and other young people, from ?all parts of China and from every Chinese ethnic group.
I think that a good way to talk about youth in China is to speak through the Beijing Spirit.
The first part of the Beijing Spirit is Patriotism. Young Chinese take great pride in what China has been able to accomplish yet they understand that nothing is perfect and they want to help move China forward even more.
The second part of the Beijing Spirit is Innovation. Chinese youth recognize this means not only developing new things also requires learning how to keep some traditions or to adapt them to a modern world.
The third part of the Beijing Spirit is Inclusiveness. As a non-Chinese I can feel the presence of this everyday. Young people are eager to learn from “lao wai” and are also excited to teach us about China’s history, traditions and culture. They recognize that we are all part of the same world and want to help to get rid of the separation between us.
The fourth part of the Beijing Spirit is Virtue, acting with kindness and respect for others. As a teacher I can feel the love and respect of my students who will eagerly volunteer their help without being asked and who work hard to not leave their friends or classmates behind.
So these are my thoughts about youth here, one of China’s strongest resources, who can help to not only to maintain a peaceful China but also to building a peaceful world.
In conclusion I would like to quote something that was written to Chinese youth nearly 60 years ago.
The world is yours, as well as ours but in the last analysis, it is yours. You young people, full of vigor and vitality, are in the bloom of life, like the sun at eight or nine in the morning. Our hope is placed in you.
Haohao xuexi, tiantian xiangshang.“