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Danish Embassy in Beijing makes education to be fun

Editor: Qian Ding 丨CCTV.com

05-23-2017 14:26 BJT

By Tom McGregor, CCCTV.com Panview commentator and editor

Over the weekend, the Danish Embassy in Beijing hosted a 2-day celebration for the upcoming Children's Day, which will be on June 1. Denmark’s Ambassador to China, H.E.A. Carsten Damsgaard served as host to greet 1,200 local Chinese families at the Danish compound.

The CCTV.com Panview team had witnessed a vibrant atmosphere where a corporate sponsor - Lego - opened up a playground for children.

Children play with Legos on a table at the Danish Embassy in Beijing, photo taken by Zhou Yawei 

Lego's 'Local Engagement Team,' (LET), which leads the company's charity programs, stood on hand to ensure a successful event where Chinese children could play and learn at the same time.

The theme of the 2nd annual event in Beijing is, "Planet Crew" that encourages children to care for the eco-system and to inspire a love for renewable energies.

Not marketing, but charity

The Danish Embassy children's party appeared to be a brilliant marketing strategy for Lego, but the company's head of China operations, Stephen Burke, explained the charity team is separate from the corporate marketing side.

"20 percent of all of our annual profits go to our charitable arm, Lego Foundation, to work with children," Burke told CCTV.com Panview in an exclusive interview. "In Shanghai where my office is, I look for children who don't know about Lego, so I can help kids facing challenges."

He added, "But our LET is not connected to the corporate marketing. They (LET) focus on volunteering. They do not go to events giving sales pitches telling parents to buy Lego."

Burke endorses "Lego Values," which instills a "strong ethical mindset in the business for caring."

Playing plus learning as key

The Danish government and Copenhagen-based Lego are both firm believers in STEM, educating children in science, technology,  engineering, and mathematics, especially for young girls.

Lego had invited the company's Chinese Robot Master - York - to teach children aged 7-10, to attend a hands-on session on developing robots and coding. The ‘We Do’ sessions allow children to use Tablets in the learning process.

In other parts of the site, children were requested to play with Legos to build their very own renewables power plants, such as wind farms.

"We are connecting kids to the environment," said an LET organizer. "Here is where kids are thinking, dreaming, iterating and prototyping while engaging in creative collaboration.“

Children can receive special certificates by building Lego windmills or other green-friendly designs that support eco-technology.

The Lego corporate team is key to emphasize that children can learn for fun as well.

Danish love for crafstmanship

Additionally, Denmark has earned world-wide recognition as a "design-driven nation," according to Casper Freddie, Denmark's head of trade in China at the Consulate General’s office in Shanghai.

"Lego is a fantastic example of what Denmark can offer China," Freddie told CCTV.com Panview. "The toy company is educating children in a creative way and inspiring the Chinese on design."

He added, "The Dutch focus on craftsmanship and aesthetics. For example, a chair is not just a chair, it needs to be beautiful and functional at the same time."

Danish companies have enjoyed better-than-expected business results in China. Denmark is one of the few countries that can boast of having a trade surplus, not deficit, with China.

Denmark's sectors that have witnessed remarkable growth in China are the pharmaceuticals, green energy technologies and consumer brands.

Freddie hopes China's young generation will work hard and pursue craftsmanship for the greater good.

Building bridges and more

The Danish Embassy had jumped to a head-start on celebrating Children's Day more than a week early. Companies from Denmark have taken the initiative to go global and have embarked on bigger expansion in China.

Companies, such as Lego, are playing a pivotal role to help China's younger generation engage in learning by using creativity and to pursue a true love for craftsmanship.

The Lego Local Engagement Team is showing the right path for proper corporate citizenship in China and the rest of the world.

Tmcgregorchina@yahoo.com  

(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com)

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration. 

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