Fujian takes spotlight at New Jersey ceremony
Danie Armstead (second from left), wife of Linden's mayor, and Linden High School students learned to make traditional local food in a celebrity snack restaurant in Xiamen, Fujian, in the 2017 language and cultural exchange program. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Lam also has headed the New Jersey Chinese Festival for 33 years.
The mayor's wife, Danie Orelien-Armstead, a French teacher, had the opportunity to teach French to students at the Xiamen Foreign Language School.
"As I walked into the class, I immediately greeted my students in French. They were attentive and ready to take notes and learn. But when I asked them questions about their opinions on various things, rather than launching into a lecture, they were very hesitant to answer," Mrs Armstead recalled.
"It wasn't because they didn't know French. The hesitancy grew from other issues, cultural things. Eventually, we broke the ice and were able to carry out a dialogue," she said.
"The understanding that I came away with, and the insight I hoped they had gained too was that cultural understanding was the key to understanding each other," Armstead said.
"It couldn't be our way or the highway. It had to be based on respect, understanding and caring. That insight was my gift from China," she said, adding that her daughter is studying Chinese.