The AOA Conference In Beijing

April 6, 2010 | Print | Email Email | Comments | Category: China NGO Viewpoints

Working in a charity or non-governmental organization in China has both great rewards and challenges. Here we listen to the voices of those people making China a better place.

This section is edited by our volunteer Kay Zhang, the PR/Communications Manager of Care for Children in China. She previously worked for BDL Media in Beijing for about three years before she obtained her master's degree in marketing from London Metropolitan University. To contribute your own viewpoint on working for an NGO in China, please email to [email protected]

by Tina Xiang
Tina Xiang Tingting is an intern with Care for Children. Here she describes her experience as a delegate at a conference in Beijing organized by the Asia Offshore Association — a platform for professionals to exchange information and network about international business issues that are particularly related to the Asia region.

From March 7 to March 9, 2010 I attended the Asia Offshore Association Beijing Conference as one of the ambassadors from Care for Children. From time to time AOA holds meetings in different cities around the world for members to share their information and experience. For each meeting they choose a local charity to support and this time in Beijing they choose Care for Children.

At around 11:45 on March 7 I arrived at the Peninsula hotel in Beijing to help prepare the welcome package in the registration room. Apart from AOA meeting materials, materials about Care for Children were provided in each welcome package so that the guests could learn more about the charity. We also set up a donation box at the registration table. Jack and Marina, the couple who organized this meeting, were very kind to me and made their best efforts to raise more money for our charity. Whenever there was a delegate coming for registration, if he or she was their old friend, they would give jokily give an order like "put some money into the box", or politely say "if you could donate some money to the charity we would be very grateful" if he or she is not an old friend. I was really grateful for what they did for us.

At the welcoming dinner that evening, all the participators sat down and had wonderful traditional Chinese food as well as strong Chinese baijiu "Erguotou". Meryl, as the spokesman of our charity, briefly introduced Care for Children before we ate. Jack introduced the ambassadors — Matthew and me to all the guests and suggested the guests talked to us: "So that the young people have opportunities to talk to people from so many countries."

The next two days witnessed successful presentations by eight speakers who are professionals in relative fields. Unfortunately I couldn't understand most of the technical terms. At my request, and on the kind advice of Jack, Matthew and I separately introduced two of the speakers before their presentations. The night before I did the introduction, I heard that at the last AOA meeting one charity ambassador was so nervous when he introduced the speaker that his voice shook. I was a little worried. But fortunately my introduction turned out to be a success. People laughed and applauded. One of the Chinese guests told me later that was good that I introduced the speaker in a relaxed western way instead of in the formal Chinese way. I think it was because people were very nice that I felt relaxed abot speaking. By the way, Matthew also did a very good job.

Having the honor to attend this meeting was really a great opportunity for me. I gained a lot of knowledge that couldn't be learnt in a classroom. I met many foreigners who spoke surprisingly fluent Chinese mandarin and were passionate about China, one of whom even said "China is my home and I'll stay here forever."

I'd particularly like to mention one special friend, Patrick, because he was so kind as to offer his help and spend extra time with Matthew and me although the three-day conference was over. He talked to us and encouraged us, saying: "I do this because I met people like me when I was young and I hope one day you can sit in my place and talk to young people like you now". I was deeply moved by his actions.

This was my first experience of attending an international meeting. And I hope in the future I can have more opportunities to meet outstanding people and learn from them. I also hope I can figure out what my real passion is so that next time when people ask me about my future plans I would not be embarrassed by having to say "I'm not sure" — which is what I did at this meeting.

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