Thank you Dr Sun Tianyi for your kind words and generous comments.
I am very proud of what our volunteers have accomplished in Shaanxi Province.But I know that none of this would be possible without the strong support and extraordinary hard work of the Sino American Society, the Shaanxi Provincial Government, and the students, teachers and administrators of schools and universities throughout the province.This is a partnership and our success in China is a mutual success.So I congratulate you and all our Chinese friends who have made this celebration possible tonight.
This is Global Volunteers 20th anniversary year.From our humble beginnings in 1984, we have grown to an organization that sends teams of short-term volunteers to six continents. This year we will recruit, prepare and manage almost 2,000 volunteers, primarily North Americans, who will serve on approximately 200 teams in nearly 100 communities in 20 countries.
On the surface, the goals of Global Volunteers and our Chinese partner and host, the Sino-American Society, seem simple.We hope to help teach conversational English to students of all ages and share knowledge and expertise with our counterparts in business, law and healthcare in Xi’an.In addition, we hope to help finish the construction of a new school and library in An Shang.
However, as with all Global Volunteers service programs; our primary goal is to wage peace and promote justice by building bridges of understanding and friendship among people throughout the world.
It's our sincere belief that all of us can wage peace and promote justice, even during times of war. National governments have the primary responsibility for maintaining peace. However, they all too often appear limited in what they can actually do to ensure a just and peaceful world. On the other hand, individuals, – you and I – can make tremendous personal contributions toward this end.
Global Volunteers believes that if we truly want peace on our planet, we all must work for peace.Peace does not have to be an unrealized goal – an unattainable vision.If enough ordinary people, in countries all over the world, decide to dedicate themselves to waging peace, we will achieve peace in our time.But it is up to us in this room to help show the way because each of us has already decided to make the commitment.So I call on all of you – Chinese and Americans alike – to envision the day when the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America are not described as adversaries or competitors but rather as allies – allies joined together in an alliance of nations dedicated to ensuring peace in our troubled world and committed to human and economic development for all people.If we can truly envision our two countries as allies, we can then work toward that goal.
Global Volunteers and the Sino American Society have joined together in a partnership of peace and friendship.These first 100 teams have demonstrated that ordinary Chinese and Americans can build a bridge of friendship across the Pacific Ocean.Now we must expand our efforts.I am very pleased to announce tonight three new initiatives that our two organizations will pursue together.
First, Global Volunteers has accepted the Sino American Society’s invitation to send volunteers to additional Chinese provinces – one in the south and one in the west.We hope to send our first teams of volunteers to communities in these areas before the end of 2005.
Second, the Sino American Society has accepted Global Volunteers invitation to send Chinese volunteers to serve in communities in the United States.We believe we have worked out the visa issues and expect the first team of Chinese volunteers in the U.S. in late 2004 or early 2005.
Third, it is our common goal to send teams of Chinese and American volunteers to North Korea.Given the long term relationship between China and North Korea, it is our hope that the North Koreans will extend an invitation to Global Volunteers through the Sino American Society.There may be no more important country in the world in which to build friendships through service than North Korea.
In the next few days, the boards and staffs of Global Volunteers and the Sino American Society will sit down together to plan the future of our program.If we can be successful in each of these three initiatives, we believe we will have taken the next important steps in empowering ordinary Chinese and American citizens to wage peace in profound ways.
As was said by a great poet: “We are each angels with only one wing, and we can only fly when we embrace each other.”