Youth Square’s “Dunhuang Youth Internship Programme 2019” is officially launched from 16th June to 27th July, with its opening ceremony at Dunhuang Academy on 25th June. 16 students from local tertiary institutions in Hong Kong have started the six-week internship programme in Dunhuang. Besides having direct exchanges with local experts and scholars, they will also learn about the history, culture and conservation of Dunhuang, a significant town of the Silk Road, and practice what they have learned by giving explanation to tourists at Mogao Caves of Dunhuang.
The 16 interns, aged between 19 and 26, are from various tertiary institutions in Hong Kong, including The University of Hong Kong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, Lingnan University, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Shue Yan University and Community College of City University. They stood out from hundreds of candidates after almost three months of selection including briefing session, pre-training, selections and interviews, and finally participate in the six-week internship programme at Dunhuang.
The “Dunhuang Youth Internship Programme” in this year covers humanities and geography of Dunhuang, study in special topics, guiding service training and internship. Interns will learn from experts and scholars of Dunhuang Academy during the training courses to get familiar with Dunhuang from various perspectives like history, art, folk custom and science. They will also conduct different field trips, including Yadan National Geological Park, remains of the Great Wall of Han Dynasty, Yumen Pass, Yulin Caves and Suoyang City to comprehensively explore the culture of Dunhuang. They will offer guiding service to tourists in Mogao Caves of Dunhuang, which has a history of thousands of years, bringing their knowledge to life.
“Dunhuang features a cosmopolitan nature, with its art born under the cultural exchange of the ancient Silk Road. Thanks to arrangements of the Hong Kong Home Affairs Bureau and Hong Kong Youth Square that the younth have such opportunity to travel from afar to experience personally the traditional culture of Dunhuang. I hope that the interns can get inspiration for their own development path in this great treasure of Dunhuang, so that Dunhuang, the hope of civilization and the seed of wisdom, will be further brightening in their future life,” said Dr Zhao Shengliang, director of Dunhuang Academy, at the opening ceremony.
“Since 2016, Youth Square has led about 100 youth in Hong Kong to Dunhuang to learn from this endless treasure of art and culture through exchange and internship programmes. It is grateful for the tailored programmes specially for trainees by Dunhuang Academy, which bring the youth to the heart of this treasure of culture and art at Dunhuang, and allow them to learn the will of Dunhuang people along each generation in conserving treasures of Dunhuang against the wind and sand. I hope they can inherit the diligent ‘Mogao Spirit’ of Dunhuang, and bring back the culture and art there to Hong Kong for spreading,” said Ms Doris Luey, Executive Director of Youth Square.
Ms Yuki Chan Suet Yi, an intern representative of “Dunhuang Youth Internship Programme 2019”, stated that the internship programme offers them an opportunity to explore the historical city of Dunhuang, as well as bringing them to experience deeply the fruit of ancient culture and art. She said, “We learn from the training about the persistence of the predecessors and Dunhuang Academy in conserving culture of Dunhuang and understand that all of this has not come easily. In the coming five weeks, it is hoped that we not only become successor of the culture, but also inheritor of the history, so that we will do our utmost to share the story of Dunhuang with more people.”
The “Dunhuang Youth Internship Programme” is organized by the Home Affairs Bureau in conjunction with Youth Square and fully supported by Dunhuang Academy since 2018. It is a six-week programme which offer 16 Dunhuang internship positions for local tertiary institution students. The programme delves into areas such as Dunhuang’s humanities, geography, and other specific subjects. Interns will also get to engage in field work to polish up their explanation skills and work together as a group on a creative project to promote Dunhuang. They will have a chance to personally experience and understand Dunhuang’s conservation efforts for rock caves, murals, and the environment. By this opportunity, interns can interact with Dunhuang researchers and learn from professional guides on how to better introduce the facts and details about places of interest to tourists, and develop themselves into bona fide Mogao Caves guides. To date, more than 30 Hong Kong youths have travelled to Dunhuang through the programme.
Since 2016, Youth Square has launched a series of “Discover Dunhuang” activities, including exhibitions, tour guide training, art creation, sharing sessions, and many others in order to increase awareness among the younger generation about Dunhuang’s cultural and conservation efforts. Besides these avenues, youths who have proven to be interested in Dunhuang are selected as “Dunhuang Art and Cultural Ambassadors” and get to personally travel there to interact with the locals. Youth Square has successfully organized three “Art and Culture Learning Trips” and led over 60 young and aspiring Dunhuang Art and Cultural Ambassadors to Dunhuang for visits. Through close contact with researchers from Dunhuang Research Academy and other young tour guides, these ambassadors have learned more about Dunhuang’s history, arts, and culture through invaluable hands-on experience. The “Dunhuang Youth Internship Programme” was first introduced in 2018 with the goal of encouraging youths to experience the culture and conservation of the long-established Silk Road up-close from its starting point both in times past and the present – Dunhuang.