Me and My Chinese Story: Michael Crook - Inspire Future Generations with Chinese Culture and Stories
As an Englishman, Michael Crook has lived in Beijing for over 50 years and co-founded the Western Academy of Beijing (WAB).
Michael Crook has been profoundly and closely connected with China because six generations of his family have worked and lived in China. Born in Beijing in 1951, he spent early years from kindergarten to high school in China. In the late 1980s, Michael Crook went to remote areas including Yunnan, Gansu and Ningxia to aid local township and village enterprises.
With the accelerating pace of China's reform and opening-up, a growing number of foreigners come to Beijing. To meet the educational needs of their children, Michael Crook took the initiative in founding the Western Academy of Beijing (WAB). The school, by integrating the Chinese language and culture into classes, pursues to bridge the cultural gap for the students to better understand China and fall in love with the country.
In 2004, Michael Crook was honored the Chinese Government Friendship Award, the highest award set up by the Chinese government to honor foreign experts for their outstanding contributions to China's reform and opening up and its modernization drive. In 2006, WAB was named as one of the "Beijing 2008 Olympic Education Model Schools" by the Beijing Organising Committee of the 29th Olympic Games and the Ministry of Education.
Speaking of cultural exchanges and teenager education to which he has been dedicating his whole life, Michael Crook said, "The first thing for cultural exchanges is to understand, and in the process of understanding, friendship will be essentially built. I hope that the students spending even just one year at WAB will attend to their friendship with China and will contribute to the friendship between China and other countries."