August 2010

Mandarin Stars is invited to prepare a paper for the inaugural MyLanguage Conference 2010 that was held at the NSW State Library and Parliament House.  According Dawna Leung, Founder and Director of Mandarin Stars in her August newsletter:

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of presenting a paper at the MyLanguage Conference 2010 which was held at the State Library and at NSW Parliament House. The conference was very thought provoking and generated a lot of ideas as to how libraries can really harness digital technology to assist culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities to achieve greater social inclusion and to maintain their linguistic and cultural identity. The topic I presented on was about how Mandarin Stars have aimed to achieve this through our program and also digitally (via our Online Activity Centre). In attending the event, many ideas and inspirations were born and I am sure that the conveners will have a lot of work ahead of them! As I too looked towards ideas for the future, the conference really did make me think back to some of the motivating reasons I had 2 years ago in setting up Mandarin Stars. As many of you know- my 2 sons are my key motivation for making the Mandarin Stars program a first class program because I have always wanted them to learn Mandarin Chinese in a fun, structured and inspiring learning environment. In addition to this, I have always hoped that Mandarin Stars contributes to developing the modern day ‘face of Australia’ in a way that is positive for all Australians. I believe that as a ‘new country’, we can really show the rest of the world how to live in harmony, simply by learning the language of your neighbour. As we see migration rates increase here in Australia (especially from Chinese speaking countries), we really are developing many new features to the face of Australia.  In partnership with this, I believe that being able to speak another language, whether it is Mandarin, Thai, Italian or Greek is very powerful. One can immediately break down barriers, make new friends, develop new connections with people and eradicate prejudices. I hope that Mandarin Stars sets out to contribute to the community by providing a service that gives all children, whether they are Australian-Chinese, European, Anglo Australian or Indian the chance to learn Mandarin as a means of developing a sense of their own cultural heritage and understanding what ethnicity is all about, and also understanding that we live in an Australia that it is very multinational and also a beautiful melting pot of languages and culture that can be explored freely.

If you would like to see a copy of the paper that was presented, please email Dawna at [email protected]