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Making the Case: U.S. LATINO AND Latin American Studies in China Melissa A Fitch University of Arizona, Chinese University of Hong Kong. OR Why you all, as students at the University of Macau, are the only ones uniquely positioned to become global leaders in the future.
Macau has the 4th lowest jobless rate in the world. Macau Daily Times February 1, 2012
TRADE BETWEEN ChinA AND THE Eight PORTUGUESE-SPEAKING WORLD in 2011 rose 28.23 % to reach U.S. $117.23 billion. (China Customs, February 2012)
Macau is the Bridge between China and the Lusophone world!
Brazilian President DilmaRousseff in Beijing with Chinese President Hu Jintao in 2011
Moreover…currently there is a building boom in Brazil as preparations are underway for the World Cup 2014 and the 2016 Olympics. Not only construction workers, but also engineers and architects and other highly skilled professionals are needed. The number of Portuguese registered at Consulates in Brazil jumped by 60,000 between 2009 and 2010.
President Armando Guebuzavisits China, August 11, 2011
According to several sources, the Macau government is currently facing a lack of Portuguese/Chinese translators and interpreters. They have not been able to fill vacancies in a program for translation and interpretation.
Who can help solve these problems with global cultural misunderstanding between Asia, Africa and Latin America?
You already know the most widely spoken language in the world, Mandarin, and you already know English (number 3), but because you speak Portuguese (number 7), you already know a lot more than you think of number 2, Spanish!!
Communication works because Spanish and Portuguese share around 80% of their vocabulary, and most of the same grammatical structures, and things like the endings on nouns and verbs. Where communication breaks down, it's often because of differences in pronunciation or local slang terms.
A study found that educated native speakers of Spanish with no previous exposure to Portuguese could understand as much as 95% of an academic text written solely in Portuguese.
With Chinese, English, Portuguese and SPANISH, U of Macau students WILL potentially BE able to speak with 2,048,000,000 of the people in the world, almost 30%!
But why should you make the effort to speak Spanish and learn more about the Ibero-American world?
In the last decade, business between China and Latin America has multiplied TWELVE times to reach $140 billion dollars.
By 2020 there will be a shift in the economic world order. China will become the world’s largest economy in 2017 and there will be more emerging economies in the top ten, including India, Russia, Brazil and Mexico (BRIC and M). (analysis from Euromonitor International).
This increasing cooperation has also led to a series of business summits between China and Latin America since 2007. These include:
The “Documentosobre la política de China haciaAméricaLatina y el Caribe,” published by the Chinese government in November of 2008, stressed the need to invest in infrastructure and foment business, scientific and educational cooperation between the regions to guarantee political stability, increase well-being and assure economic growth.
As China’s role in L.A. expands, countries are in desperate need of China experts and Chinese speakers to develop trade ties, promote investment, negotiate effectively, challenge counter-productive stereotypes, and encourage multifaceted bilateral relationships with Latin American businesses that have little understanding of Chinese culture, business practices, or commercial regulations, and who find operation in China daunting. The same is the case for Chinese firms in Latin America. (Myers)
Argentine president Cristina Kirchner with Chinese President Hu Jintao
In Beijing, July 2010
Chinese President Hu Jintao shakes hands with visiting Chilean President SebastiánPiñera during their meeting in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 16, 2010.
Chinese President Hu Jintao in a meeting with the Mexican delegation in Beijing, July 11, 2008.
Xi Jinping, Hu Jintao’s heir apparent in the Communist Party of China, in Feb 2009, in Mexico. He made a trip that year to Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, and Venezuela. In 2011, he visited Chile, Cuba and Uruguay.
Hearn, Adrian and José Luis Leon-Manriquez’s. China Engages Latin America: Tracing the Trajectory. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2011.
Myers, Margaret. China/Chinese Studies in Latin America China dn Latin America: The Inter-American Dialogue. December 20, 2011. chinaandlatinamerica.com