Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s visit to China has made for a few headlines this week, including this one from the Washington Post.
In front of an attentive audience, he began a live interview with 30 minutes in Mandarin. Students at the university he was visiting seemed to enjoy his efforts.
Going public with a new language is difficult to do, but the effort and attempt can be helpful in building bridges for further relationship. While some claim Zuckerberg’s performance was just for show to try to help get Facebook accepted in China, even that would be an effort at bridging the cultural, social and political gap.
How much more can the learning of language itself contribute to the transformation of relationships when in sustained efforts in community? With intention, language learning, regardless of the level of fluency achieved, can be an effective peacebuilding process.