By Jordan Beach 

As former vice president for the National Association of Chinese Americans (NACA), Chia Siok Leng understands the importance of global awareness, as it affects so much industry in the United States. 

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On Oct. 23, Reinhardt University invited Chia to campus to discuss current and past relations between China and the United States. Chia is a local resident who visited Reinhardt in 2012 to give a presentation during the “Year of China,” where the University celebrated and taught Chinese culture.  

Along with her presentation, Chia also provided seven panels concerning U.S. Presidents and Asian relations, previously displayed in the Nixon, Carter and George H.W. Bush presidential libraries in exhibits sponsored by NACA, and now exhibited in Hill Freeman Library. 

Chia discussed the efforts of NACA, showing video footage from a conference, and brought about the ways China and the United State could continue learning and growing from one another, especially by balancing each other’s strengths and weaknesses with the resources each country has available. 

During the presentation, Chia also touched on some aspects of Chinese culture, discussing ways for Georgia residents to interact with local Chinese culture in places such as Chinatown in Atlanta.  

Chia emphasized the importance of knowledge when it comes to keeping up with countries outside of the United States. 

“We do not live on an island; we have to coexist with other countries. China is the second world power now, so we’re in competition, but instead of having a ‘competing’ mindset it’s better to have a ‘work together’ mindset,” said Chia. “You need to know what the consequences of your actions are, not just your own country but of people in the rest of the world. It’s important to open our eyes, not just to China: we mustn’t rest on our laurels, we have to wake up and see what other countries are doing.” 

Each year Reinhardt focuses on a different country in the “Year of…” series in an effort to educate students on the culture and systems of places around the world. This year will focus on Nigeria, with the next presentation taking place Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. on “Nollywood Pre-Halloween Supernatural Suspense Thriller: ‘The Figurine: Araromire’ (2009).”