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"UN Chinese Language Day•Picturesque Chinese Character" in Palais des Nations
2014/04/18
On April 17th, the Permanent Mission of China, China Xinhua News Network and United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) co-organized the exhibition of "Picturesque Chinese Character" in Palais des Nations. H.E. Ambassador WU Hailong, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Mr. Michael Møller, Acting Director-General of UNOG delivered speeches at the opening ceremony. More than 200 people, including Permanent Representatives and diplomats from other missions,   representatives from international organizations and Chinese language enthusiasts attended the ceremony.

In his remarks, Ambassador Wu said that the invention of the written script is an important symbol of the beginning of human civilization. With thousands of years of evolution, Chinese characters, together with Egyptian hieroglyphics, Babylonian cuneiforms, Phoenician alphabet characters, and other ancient characters provide a foundation for today's diverse language systems and civilizations.

Ambassador Wu also noted that with globalization gaining more momentum, there has been a trend to learn other countries' languages and cultures. As China is increasingly integrated into the world, more and more foreigners are interested in and start to learn Chinese language. These exchanges will not only promote the common development and prosperity of all cultures, enhance understanding between different civilizations, but also help create a diverse, inclusive and harmonious world.

Mr. Møller said, linguistic diversity is a condition for authentic international cooperation, and the promotion of multilingualism is a key priority of the United Nations. Here at the UN Office at Geneva, we have celebrated "Language Days" since the initiative commenced in 2010. This exhibition not only highlights the richness and complexity of the Chinese language, but also reveals the evolution and significance of one of the world's oldest written languages. The musician that has joined us to play traditional music underscores the rich history of Chinese language and culture. 

 

 

 

The exhibition consisted of six parts, namely Chinese zodiac, simple Chinese characters, superimposed Chinese characters, complicated Chinese characters, composite words and phrases. They vividly demonstrated the formation and evolution of different types of Chinese characters with pictures. At the opening ceremony, "Moonlit River in Spring", "Homebound Fishermen" and other Chinese classical music were played by Chinese musician living in Switzerland. The melodious music, together with the artworks of the exhibition, created a wonderful Chinese cultural atmosphere for guests.

 

 

Some guests said that the exhibition not only revealed the evolution of Chinese characters, but also reflected the philosophy of life and values of the Chinese people. Students from Confucius Institute at Geneva University said that the interesting exhibition was of great help to their understanding of the origin of Chinese characters. Many parents took their children to the exhibition, hoping to stimulate their interests in Chinese language.

The day of Guyu, one of the 24 solar terms in Chinese lunar calendar, was selected as the UN official Chinese Language Day in 2010. It is the third consecutive year that the Chinese Mission and UNOG jointly hold Chinese Language Day cultural activity in Palais des Nations.

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