GW Hosts the First Jiangsu Cup Chinese Speech Contest

Senior Tim Quinn was one of three gold award winners in Sunday's Jiangsu Cup Chinese Speech Contest, hosted by the university.
November 06, 2011

Senior Tim Quinn placed first in the final rounds of the contest held in the university’s City View Room Sunday.

George Washington student Tim Quinn was one of three gold award winners in the Jiangsu Cup Chinese Speech Contest, announced Sunday in George Washington’s City View Room.

In the contest’s final round on Sunday, Mr. Quinn and George Washington students Nicholas Koeniger, Nisha Tuttle and James Elam answered personal questions and gave an improvised speech—all in Chinese—competing for prizes ranging from full graduate or summer study scholarships at Nanjing University in China to an eight-day summer tour in Jiangsu Province.

The contest was sponsored by the Jiangsu International Cultural Exchange Center, the Nanjing University in China and George Washington’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

As a gold award winner, Mr. Quinn received a full scholarship to complete a master’s degree at Nanjing University. The scholarship will cover full tuition, housing, health insurance and a monthly living stipend.

Mr. Quinn said he was surprised he won, as his nerves almost got the better of him before the competition.

“Last night I didn’t sleep much, and I was actually really nervous when I was practicing,” he said, “but by the time I got on stage I just sort of let loose and let it flow.”

This contest is not the first Chinese-speaking competition Mr. Quinn has won; in April, he placed first in the 10th Annual Chinese Bridge Speech Competition preliminaries in Washington, D.C. He first began studying Chinese as a freshman at GW and has since traveled to China twice for study abroad; he spent six months in an intensive language program in Beijing and three months in Beijing, Mongolia, and Ningxia, China as an ACC China Rural Education Field Studies Program intern in the Fulbright Program.

Mr. Quinn, who plans on getting a master’s degree in China after graduation, said George Washington’s Chinese language and literature program in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures helped him cultivate his interest in Chinese language and culture.

“The teachers here have been great,” he said. “They have thrown many opportunities my way based on my interests, and it’s been really amazing.”

The Jiangsu Cup Chinese Speech Contest consisted of two rounds featuring 31 students, each of whom had to submit an application, a recording of a self-introduction and an optional essay during the first round. The contestants were divided into three groups based on the language proficiency levels: intermediate, intermediate high and advanced.

The final round of the contest on Sunday featured students from George Washington, American University, Georgetown University, University of Maryland, University of Virginia and Washington and Lee University, all undergraduates studying Chinese. All of the finalists received either a gold, silver or bronze award. Click here for more information. 

The contest began with remarks by Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Dean Peg Barratt, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures Chair Young-Key Kim-Renaud, Secretary-General of the Jiangsu Cultural Exchange Center Liu Lin, and GW Chinese Program director and contest director Phyllis Zhang.

Ed McCord, director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, was also in attendance, as well as faculty, staff and students from Nanjing University and the Jiangsu International Cultural Exchange Center.

In her remarks, Dr. Barratt welcomed the contestants, judges and audience members, stating that the contest is hopefully just the beginning of many collaborations between GW and Nanjing University.

“George Washington University is particularly interested in building partnerships with organizations around D.C. and partnerships that reach out around the world, and so this contest gives us an opportunity to build the relationship with Nanjing University, and to cement our partnerships with the universities around the D.C. area,” she said. “We appreciate this as possibly the beginning of an exchange of scholars and students that may grow from this point forward.”