Anisa Knox '15 Showcases Chinese Language Skills in Annual Speech Competition

by Nehmat Kaur '16
Anisa Knox '15
"In the 21st century, language learning is essential," says Knox, whose second-place finish won her a trip to Hong Kong, including a weeklong study tour and an internship.

Anisa Knox '15 won second place at the Hong Kong Cup Chinese Speech Contest held in New York City last month.

The contest is an annual event organized by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York (HKETONY) and seeks to promote interest in and better understanding of Hong Kong and the Chinese language. This year, the contest also served as a celebratory event for HKETONY's 30th anniversary.

"The competition was very intense," says Knox, an Honors Chinese major from Princeton, N.J. "Although all of the contestants were non-native speakers, they were very skilled and showed an excellent command of the Chinese language. So I was very excited and honored to compete beside the best Mandarin speakers from the across the nation." Knox is also a member of dance group Rhythm and Motion, and a publicity coordinator at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.

The contest is based on participants preparing and delivering speeches in Chinese. It divides contestants into two categories - juniors and seniors. The junior category is for contestants who have studied Chinese for two years or less. The senior category, which Knox competed in, is for those who have studied Chinese for two years or more.

"This is a fairly distinctive accomplishment and reflects both the student's hard work and the quality of the Chinese program here," says Alan Berkowitz, Susan W. Lippincott Professor of Modern & Classical Languages and Section Head of Chinese.

For the final round, contestants were asked to deliver speeches that display the best way to promote understanding and exchanges between Hong Kong and the US. Knox said that her speech was about achieving this through further education and more cultural exchange.

"In the 21st century, language learning is essential," she says. "As China continues to develop as an economical juggernaut, students, parents, and educators realize the importance of learning Chinese. President Barack Obama deeply relies on America's political ties with Chairman Xi Jinping as a way to bridge the cultural and political differences of the two powerful nations."

As one of the top three winners, Knox won round-trip air tickets between New York and Hong Kong, sponsored by Cathay Pacific Airways, a one-week study tour with accommodations at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, a Hong Kong heritage tour, and an internship at the National Committee on United States-China Relations.

"I plan to visit Hong Kong during March break," she says. "I have never been to Hong Kong, so I am very excited to taste authentic milk tea."