9 weeks finished and only one more to go. I can’t believe how quickly time has passed. I feel as though I blinked and it is already the end of July. Last week Zhicheng organized an international conference at a local university, China University of Political Science and Law. The event was a great opportunity for the interns to present on the research they completed over the course of the past few weeks. It was also a great way for me to reflect on my time with Zhicheng.
I should say that I hosted this event along with my colleague Xinshu. I know it may sound rather geeky, but I was incredibly honored when my supervisor asked me to help organize this forum and to speak in front of a large group of people as its host. Public speaking is something I have been working on for the past year as a member of the Toastmasters organization. Using what I learned at my weekly Toastmasters morning meetings, I think I did a good job providing opening and closing remarks. I was also quite impressed with my colleague, who provided the Chinese translation of my English language comments.
Not until the conference did I fully appreciate the full range of research in which Zhicheng’s lawyers and interns engage. Our forum was divided into the following four topics: migrant workers issues, women’s and children’s rights, civil society in China, and human trafficking. These four topics were quite broad I learned so much. For me, the most interesting topic was the discussion of human trafficking. China has such as large border and so many poor neighboring countries that it is a source of many trafficked humans. Naturally, this creates a huge headache for the Chinese government, who must coordinate with its many neighbors to repatriate victims and prevent the influx of trafficked individuals.
Perhaps the greatest surprise during the conference was the moment when my supervisor told me that Professor Malone from the Law School would be in attendance. At this news I felt an intense pressure to do my best during my presentation on civil society in China and the United States. I certainly couldn’t do a bad job in front of one of my professors. As promised, Professor Malone attended and provided some lovely compliments after my speech. We talked afterwards and she told me that she had just happened to hear about the conference and my participation in it only a few days before. She was teaching a class in China during the past few weeks. What a coincidence.
It is always to nice to meet fellow Williamsburgians in China and other countries. I am always surprised at the global reach of the William & Mary community. I hope that in the future we can better coordinate the location of alumni, current students, and professors. I think that despite our humble hometown, we are a very global bunch!