In publica commoda

Press release: Göttingen student holds speech before UN General Assembly

Nr. 181/2015 - 14.08.2015

Wiebke Dirks one of ten winners of the Multilingual Essay Contest – gives short speech in Chinese

(pug) A chance to speak before the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York: Wiebke Dirks, a Göttingen student enrolled in the teaching degree programme was successful in doing just that. As one of the winners of this year's Student Essay Contest entitled "Many Languages. One World" organised under the auspices of the United Nations, she had to give her speech in one of six UN official languages that was not her first language. Dirks decided on Chinese as the language for her speech on the subject "Ensuring health for all and promoting well-being for all".

For three years now, Dirks has been studying to become a teacher of Chinese and English at Göttingen University and had just completed a stay abroad at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. "We are delighted about Wiebke Dirks' amazing success," says Professor Axel Schneider of the Department of East Asian Studies. "The prize can equally be regarded as recognition of a remarkable achievement by our team of language teachers, particularly my colleagues Ni Lingling and Gao Jingjing, who mentored Ms Dirks." In 2010, the language teaching expert Ni Lingling started reorganising the didactics of Chinese as a foreign language.

The contest took place for the second year in a row. Over 1,200 students from all over the world submitted essays written a language that is not their mother tongue. The entrants were requested to write on subjects reflecting the UN's agenda of global sustainable development. The seventy winners were additionally invited to New York to a Global Youth Forum at the United Nations. The contest was organised, among others, by the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) Initiative that aims to strengthen the network between universities and the UN. The presentation by Wiebke Dirks can be viewed on line at: (from minute 6)

Contact address:
Professor Axel Schneider
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Faculty of Humanities – Department of East Asian Studies
Heinrich-Düker Weg 14, 37073 Göttingen, Germany Phone +49(0)551 39- 24345
E-Mail:, Internet: