Respected President Bud Philbrook, and Vice President Michele Gran;
Distinguished Members of the Board of Directors and staff of Global Volunteers,
Invited Guests from Shaanxi Schools and Government Offices; and to our most honored guests… the members of Global Volunteers China Team 100;
I say, "welcome" to you all.
We are here today to celebrate Global Volunteers great accomplishments in China since 1996 when they sent their first volunteer team.Over this 8-year period, more than 100 separate groups of participants have served as English teachers, on legal, business and medical teams, in summer English enrichment training, and as Project Peace construction volunteers.Approximately 1000 volunteers have freely given over 100,000 hours of their time and effort to serve the people of our province.
Your professional contributions responded to our very real needs.You have provided us with important and appropriate assistance, in a manner that greatly aids us in our own development at this time.
But your contributions have been even greater.By your selfless example of volunteering to serve the needs of others, you reminded us of the numerous heroes we have in our own modern Chinese revolutionary history.Zhang Si-de, Dr. Norman Bethune, and Lei Feng are some of the recent examples of those Chinese who served our people wholeheartedly and made ours a better society.It is no wonder that our media and our general population have given you the name "the Foreign Lei Feng" or "the American Lei Feng."
You have reminded us that while paid work improves our material life, so too volunteer work improves our spiritual life and that we need to do both in order to make ourselves whole and complete human beings.You have inspired our citizens to volunteer their services in the poorer areas of this province, and you have inspired our villagers to work together on projects necessary for their own community benefit.
As the first American NGO invited to the People's Republic of China, you have created an inspiring example of generosity, understanding, and friendship.Nowhere in our history has another foreign volunteer program lasted so long, involved so many people, or provided such great benefits to our country.
It is our sincere hope that Global Volunteers will continue to serve in China for many more years to come.Thank you again for all you have done.