First report from ACE 2010 in Hangzhou

T

hroughout the post financial crisis era, China has invested a lot of time and energy on helping its citizens increase their capacity for innovation and creativity. It is with this spirit of evolution and forward thinking that the fourth annual Ameson Chinese Elite Program successfully opened on the 19th of July in Hangzhou (organized by the Ameson Foundation and supported by Chinese National Education and Science Research Institute).

The guest attendants at the opening ceremony included Mr. Sean Zhang, Vice Chairman of the Ameson Culture and Education Foundation; Mr. Runyong Yang, a delegate from the Chinese National Education and Science Research Institute; Dr Richard J. Barnes, Senior Lecturer and Senior Tutor of the Physiology Department at the University of Cambridge; Ms. Julia Richardson, International Officer and delegate from Oxford University; Douglas L. Chirstiansen, Vice Provost of Vanderbilt University; Prof. Wei-Yung Wang, Associate Vice President of the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan; Dr. Ron Byrne, Vice President of Mount Allison University.

At the opening ceremony, honored speakers included Mr. Han Ping (Head of the Education Department of Zhejiang Province) and Mr. Ji Wei Zheng (Vice Governor of Zhejiang Province).

In total, 300 top students coming from over 100 first class senior high schools across China attended the ceremony.

Impressions from Ameson’s Vice Chairman

Ameson Vice Chairman Professor Sean Zhang was satisfied with the turnout. “The quality of the young generation decides the quality of a country. The innovation of young people represents hope for the entire nation. Ameson has persisted to run this non-profit program for 4 years – while many educators have operated with commercial concerns – for sake of the public good, in order to provide young students a better grasp of advances in technology and arts, and to inspire them to work hard and plan for their futures from an early age.

The feedback we have received over the past few years – particularly by academics, who give speeches full of passion and knowledge – has had a deep effect on thousands of students. Personally, I have seen many students exposed to Ameson programs who have come away with fundamental changes in their world-view, which indicates the first steps in the long march towards international success.”

ACE: the 4 pillars of success

According to Mr. Han Ping, the Head of the Education Department of Zhejiang province, there are 4 key features that make the Ameson Chinese Elite Program stand out from the rest:

1. Ameson Elite Program is an innovation in itself. It gathers excellent students from all across China and mixes them with world leading universities by inviting famous academics from both China and abroad. It is a great festival for over 300 students to communicate directly to world leading experts.

ACE Program Director Mr. William Ke feels that another strength of the ACE program is its longstanding relationship with elite overseas universities. 2. The Ameson Chinese Elite program consistently manages to attract the best-performing elite high school students (the most viable candidates for overseas study) from all over China.

3. The Ameson Chinese Elite program is non-profit and for the public good, a very unique characteristic that sets ACE apart from commercially-oriented student recruitment programs. 

4. The internationalization and high quality of this program is consistent in all aspects, from media coverage to organization to the quality of workshops and presentations.

According to ACE Program Director Mr. William Ke, another strength of the program is its longstanding relationship with elite overseas universities. “Dr. Richard Barnes from the University of Cambridge and Dr. Ron Byrne from Mont Allison University have been involved with the program for several years. Both have expressed that ACE is a great chance for them to meet with China’s future elite, and also to help them understand the Chinese senior high school education system better.”

Student feedback

Student Tian Jing Yi Fan was one of several students who volunteered to work as a crew member during ACE 2010. In his view, “the Ameson Elite program allows us to speak our minds freely.”

During the ACE 2010 program, students are split into groups, with each group having to nominate a student president, using pre-defined crieria. However, one student, Xu Xin’er (from the Xiamen Foreign Language School) questioned this policy, suggesting that it was not in line with the spirit of the ACE program.

The opinion was passed to Ameson Vice Chairman Sean Zhang, who responded immediately: “Why do we call ACE an innovation program? The reason is because it is a dynamic program that keeps developing all the time. There are no fixed rules and regulations, and we welcome new ideas, in order to better meet the needs of the students. So, I think it was great that Xu Xin’er had the courage to question authority and challenge the traditions. This shows her outstanding potential.”

In the end, the story spread throughout the conference, leading to a collective understanding that the Ameson Elite Program distinguishes itself from other similar programs.

Looking forward to the rest of the week

Ameson Elite Program has been acknowledged by a wide range of sociatey members. Besides the proverbial within high school and universities, there are also volunteers from other industries. For example, two council officers (Mr. Yongguang Song and Ms. Xiaoping Li) both took 10 days annual leave from their comapany jobs to attend the conference as volunteer staff. They only wish to join the crew members and contribute a bit to China’s education.

Director Ke said: “In the next week, dozens of professors, doctors, or lecturers from Cambridge and Oxford in UK, UCLA in US, HK Technological University, Bocconi University in Italy, National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan, Peking University and Qinghua University in China, will deliver exciting presentations relevant to innovation, designed to inspire the 300 top students.

Also, the students will get the chance to communicate with these experts face to face. The first presentation of “Globalization-the chance and challenges for China ” after the opening ceremony will expose to the students the international situation and trends nowadays, and prepare students for the difficulties and opportunities in the future.”

Beyond lectures, Director Ke mentioned that students will be free to organize their own activities (basketball tournaments, debates, various creative endeavors).

“In my view,” Director Ke concluded, “this program provides a great platform for students to understand and learn from each other, make more friends and increase their personal abilities in communication and interaction.”
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