On March 28, 2015 The Washington Association for Chinese Education (WACE) and Confucius Institute of the State of Washington (CIWA) held their third annual “Why Learn Chinese” (WLC) awards ceremony at the Seattle Chinese Garden.

WACE is a student-run nonprofit organization dedicated to generating interest in learning Chinese, and spreading Chinese language and culture to students and high schools around Washington. WACE now spans across seven schools and five school districts, and has received support from over 500 members of the community, the US Ambassador to China Gary Locke, and former Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire.

The WLC competition sponsored by CIWA this year consisted of three categories: role of China in our lives, idiom explanation, and comparison of Chinese and American culture. Contestants submitted responses on the importance of learning Chinese using poetry, prose, and media. With enormous support from the Confucius Institute, the Chinese Language Teachers of Washington, and the Seattle Chinese Garden, this was the most successful competition yet, with over 100 entries submitted from across Washington. Nine winners received their cash awards and honors in a ceremony held at the Judge Warren and Nobie Chan Education Center at the Seattle Chinese Garden. This ceremony included speakers and community support for the hard work of the WACE team as well as competition finalists.

Through WLC, WACE and CIWA hope to engender conversation about China and its importance in our lives. The “Role of China” category winner Aubrey-Anne embodies this idea, stating that “I am transforming into an American that is knowledgeable about other cultures, concerned about the welfare of the world, and has eaten goat. I was told as a child that we are the future of the world, and now I am starting to realize my role as a peacemaker, a bridge, an ambassador between one culture to another.”