Sixteen Chinese students from Centre College, as well as Kyle Anderson, director of the Center for Global Citizenship; Jennifer Goetz, associate professor of psychology; and Stephen Swan, assistant director of the Center for Global Citizenship, recently attended a reception at the Governor’s Mansion in Frankfort, Kentucky, on Feb. 5, honoring students from The People’s Republic of China currently studying in the Commonwealth.
The event was held on Chinese New Year, celebrating the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Pig.
Governor Matt Bevin and top executives from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development recently returned from the People’s Republic of China, where they met with top government and business leaders, working to strengthen relationships between China and Kentucky. According to Bevin, both sides expressed appreciation for the students who have had the opportunity to further their education in the state.
The reception took place in hopes of fostering collaboration between Kentucky and the thousands of Chinese students who have come here to study.
“It was a great opportunity for our students to network with the students and administrations of other institutions, as well as businessmen and women from around the state,” Swan said.
Although Centre may have been the smallest institution represented, it had one of the largest delegations present, reaffirming the College’s commitment to global citizenship and civic engagement.
“It was really special to see our international students as the guests of honor in our state’s capital,” Swan added. “They have come so far, both literally and figuratively, to be where they are today—in a position of great opportunity. The students were gracious guests, as they listened to remarks from Governor Bevin about his experiences in China, both as an exchange student in the late 80s and as governor of Kentucky in 2018. They even took turns taking pictures with Governor Bevin, which was a very unique experience for many of them. I think they were surprised to have such access to the governor and the mansion.”
For Guangnan Li ’21, it was the first time he had met a U.S. governor.
“I went there with honor and respect for such a meeting, and we were all made to feel comfortable and relaxed,” Guangnan said. “I met a lot of Chinese students who also came here to study. We are different, but share similar experiences. It was a pleasure to be there and enjoy such a wonderful experience.”
Swan added that it was refreshing to hear elected officials call for citizens of both the commonwealth and China to seize opportunities to bridge cross-cultural and physical barriers to engage in dialogue with one another.
“Geo-political tensions on the front pages of newspapers and websites often remind us of our differences,” he continued. “Events like this one and the everyday interaction we have with our fellow global citizens should serve to humble us—providing reflection on what we have in common with our fellow human beings.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
February 13, 2019