The Soong Ching Ling International Forum on Children's Development was held in Beijing on Nov 19, the day before 2020's World Children's Day. With the theme of "Building the Future of Children's Education and Sustainable Development," the two-day event featured both online and on-site events.
The 2020 Soong Ching Ling International Forum on Children’s Development was held in Beijing on Nov 19. [Photo courtesy of China Soong Ching Ling Foundation]
Wang Jiarui, chairman of China Soong Ching Ling Foundation and China Welfare Institute, delivered a speech at the opening ceremony, which was held at the China Soong Ching Ling Science & Culture Center for Young People.
Wang stated that China has long attached great importance to children's development, with proposals recently adopted as part of China's 14th Five-Year Plan at the fifth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee. According to topics discussed at the plenum, China will build a higher-quality education system and strive to provide a higher level of education throughout the nation.
Wang also thanked the UNICEF China Office, the China Center for International People-to-People Exchange (CCIPE) under China's Ministry of Education, and the Beijing Municipal Education Commission for their support at the event. Additionally, he expressed his hope that experts and scholars attending the forum could share innovative experiences and put forward suggestions on topics spanning child development, sustainable education, and means to ensure the healthy and happy growth of children.
Cynthia McCaffrey, UNICEF's representative to China, mentioned that children are facing unprecedented challenges in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. UNICEF has worked closely with China's Ministry of Education, the China National Society of Early Childhood Education, and other partners to develop effective approaches to aid access to quality early childhood education.
She also referred to efforts made at the first Soong Ching Ling International Forum on Children's Development held last year and the "lighting up blue" event on World Children's Day in Shanghai where various buildings were illuminated with blue light to help raise awareness about children's rights.
"We are proud to be partnering again with the [China] Soong Ching Ling Foundation and the China Welfare Institute to light up three buildings in Beijing. Buildings will also light up across China and around the world. We're doing this as a way to call on everyone to come together again to reimagine a better future for every child, where every child is healthy, educated, and protected," McCaffrey said.
Liu Limin, former vice-minister of education and president of the China Education Association for International Exchange, said that the pandemic has led to changes in teaching methods, accelerated the development of a new pattern of home-school cooperation in education, and has also brought many new related issues to the surface. He hoped the forum would serve as a platform to drive the innovative development of educational methods.
During the forum, nearly 100 representatives, including experts, educators, and teachers from Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangxi, and Ningxia attended the on-site meeting. Other experts and front-line educators from Russia, Uzbekistan, Britain, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, and other countries attended the forum online. They discussed topics surrounding three themes: children’s development and a better future for the world, sustainable education for children and a better future for the world, and the happy and healthy growth of children and a better future for the world.
The Central Radio & TV Tower and the China Millennium Monument were lit up blue on World Children's Day to promote international togetherness and awareness about children's rights worldwide for the betterment of children's welfare. [Photo courtesy of China Soong Ching Ling Foundation]
On World Children's Day on Nov. 20, the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation together with the China Welfare Institute and UNICEF China Office held a lighting up activity in Beijing. The Central Radio & TV Tower and other buildings and iconic monuments in the capital were lit up blue to promote international togetherness and awareness about children's rights worldwide for the betterment of children's welfare.