On September 4th and 5th, I had the opportunity to share some lessons from our experience in Yangjuan with audiences of teachers, researchers, and students at two educational institutions in Chengdu: The College of Yi Studies at Southwest University for Nationalities or 西南民族大学， and the Institute for Multicultural Education at Sichuan Normal University, or 四川师范大学。
The talk at SWUN was a great opportunity to revisit old friends among the Yi studies community and to introduce Noah and Tiffany to younger scholars and students who will be working with them in their study of Yi language education.
The talk at SNU was particularly special. I was hosted by my friend and co-author Professor Aga Rehamo, and she introduced me to a wonderful institute where she is now a faculty member, the Institute for Multicultual Education. Under the leadership of Professor Badeng Nima (Palden Nyima), a Jiarong Tibetan, they have gathered a multi-ethnic faculty from Tibetan, Qiang, Yi, Miao, Naxi and other ethnic groups, who are actively involved not only in research but in practical experiments with education in minority communities.
The audience, consisting of these faculty and their undergraduate students, was raptly interested in what I had to say about the successes, challenges, and transformation of our work in Yangjuan, and when I was done talking, a lively question-and-answer session lasted over 45 minutes, after which Professor Badeng gave a masterful summary combined with a challenge to his faculty and students to make their research serve the development and improvement of multi-ethnic education in the rapidly changing ethnic communities of China’s Southwest.
A special treat came when Li Lan, a graduate of Yangjuan and a CMEF scholarship recipient, who is now a sophomore at SNU, emailed me to say she would be able to attend the talk, and was invited by Professor Badeng to make comments on her experience as someone who had come through Yangjuan School and was now herself studying multicultural education. I felt like the circle was complete, and I’m confident that Li Lan will join those recent college graduates who have begun to give back to the communities that have supported them through the course of their education.