National Chinese Language Conference
Organized by Asia Society and the College Board
The National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC) is the largest and most prominent annual convening in North America that brings together leaders and practitioners in the field of Chinese language and culture education and U.S.-China education partnership. NCLC is dedicated to enhancing the capacity for the teaching and learning of Chinese language culture by sharing cutting–edge practices and examples with educators and policymakers. The eighth annual NCLC will be held April 16–18, 2015 at the Hilton Atlanta Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia.
Over the past 7 years, the conference has traveled across the U.S. (to Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, and three times to Washington, DC). Each conference features national momentum and trends while highlighting local resources and expertise. Since 2008's inaugural NCLC, attendance has increased steadily from the initial 700 attendees to more than 1,200 in 2014. The conference has cumulatively attracted 7,700 national, state, and local educational leaders; school principals and teachers; higher education faculty; and representatives of international and professional organizations from almost every U.S. state and a dozen countries globally. The growing presence of the NCLC is both a testament to and a force behind the movement to prepare students for a globalized world.
The conference spans two and half days, and includes four or five plenary sessions, a number of half-day or full-day hands-on workshops, 70+ breakout sessions, as well as visits to language and culture programs within area schools. The breakout sessions focus on a wide range of topics including curriculum, instruction, assessment, technology, culture, and school-to-school partnership and education.
The plenary sessions typically feature luminaries in education, government, media, and business sectors, and either focus on big-picture issues in the field of Chinese language and culture education, or put Chinese language education in the context of U.S.–China relations and people-to-people exchange. The NCLC has featured breathtaking performances by Abigail Washburn, a banjo player who believes in building U.S.–China relations through music (2014), and Tian Haojiang, Metropolitan Opera basso, and his debuting “I Sing Beijing” artists (2012). The plenaries have also celebrated Chinese Language Teachers and Students (2013), and highlighted students’ experiences of learning Chinese from students themselves. At the 2014 conference, keynote Kevin Rudd – the first western head of government capable of conducting diplomacy in fluent Mandarin – kicked off the conference and cautioned against five commonly held misperceptions of China and spoke of language as “a doorway to understanding.”
NCLC has featured distinguished and visionary leaders, including:
Kevin Rudd, 26th Prime Minister of Australia
Liu Yandong, then Chinese State Councilor (currently Vice Premier)
Zhang Yesui and Zhou Wenzhong, then Chinese Ambassadors to the U.S.
Kurt Campbell, then Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs
Hao Ping, Vice Minister of Education, China
Chuck Hagel, then U.S. Senator (currently Secretary of Defense)
Jon Huntsman, Jr., then Governor of Utah
Orville Schell, Center on U.S.-China Relations, Asia Society
Judith McHale, then Under Secretary of State
Deb Delisle, Assistant Secretary of Education
Rush Holt, U.S. Congressman
Gish Jen, Novelist
James Fallows, The Atlantic
Evan Osnos, The New Yorker
Richard M. Daley, then mayor of Chicago
Hao Ping, Chinese Vice Minister of Education
Tian Haojiang, Metropolitan Opera basso, and his “I Sing Beijing” artists
Links to past NCLCs:
2014 (Los Angeles, CA): Building Capacity Coast to Coast
2013 (Boston, MA): Engage the Future
2012 (Washington, D.C.): State of the Field: Proficiency, Sustainability and Beyond
2011 (San Francisco, CA): Connect, Innovate, Lead
2010 (Washington, D.C.): Learning Chinese, Thinking Globally
2009 (Chicago, IL): Making Connections, Building Partnerships
2008 (Washington, D.C.): Inaugural Convening