Thank you Madame Vice Mayor Li Xue Mei (lee SHOO may)
It is a great honor for me to stand here and acknowledge the official welcome you have extended to Global Volunteers and the Members of China Team 100.
Nine years ago, Global Volunteers was invited to Xi’an by the Sino American Society.We came in friendship.Our hope was to demonstrate to Americans and Chinese alike that ordinary people, working together can wage peace through service and mutual understanding.Now, more than 100 teams of volunteers later, we have realized our aspirations.
I thank you and the great and ancient city of Xi’an for the warm welcome you have extended to all our more than 1,100 volunteers.We offered you our hand in friendship and understanding and your citizens offered their hands in return.The result has been that Americans and Chinese have worked with each other and learned from and about each other.We have sought to understand each other and to be understood.We have embraced each other and developed deep and lasting friendships.This is most important because understanding is the foundation for friendship, and friendship is the principal ingredient for peace.The more we understand each other on this planet, the more peaceful our coexistence will be.
It is also a great honor for Global Volunteers to be the first American NGO to receive such a grand and historic welcome.For this we are extremely grateful.
In return, Global Volunteers is proud to acknowledge Xi’an as one of the more than 100 communities we are privileged to serve.Our China service program is one of the most diverse and attractive programs we offer.Average citizens are offered the opportunity to teach conversational English; share information and knowledge about American business systems; explain American jurisprudence and legal procedure; and teach western medical practices as we learn about Chinese medicine.Our China volunteers can serve in the great city of Xi'an, or in the small farming village of An Shang.Nowhere else do we have such a diversity of volunteer opportunities.This is possible in large measure because of the extraordinary efforts made by the City of Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, and the Sino American Society.
Perhaps what is most important about Global Volunteers service programs in China is not what our volunteers do, but what they say when they return home.They tell us “I went to China to teach, but I learned so much more than I taught.I went to give, but I received much more than I gave.
On behalf of the board of directors of Global Volunteers and all 1,100 volunteers, I thank you again for inviting us to your wonderful and historic city.And most of all, thank you for your friendship.