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Volunteers help elderly, teach English to kick-off IYV 2001
05 December 2000

The International Year of Volunteers (IYV 2001) was officially launched in China on 5 December 2000 under the theme "Starting the new era by being a volunteer" with the participation of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC) and volunteer organizations (both international and national) in China. These include the Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV), China Social Workers Association, China Young Volunteer Association (CYVA), China Disabled Persons Federation, China Red Cross and Red Crescent, Beijing Red Cross Society, Volunteers in Asia (VIA, an American volunteer organization), China International Centre for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE) under MOFTAC, and UNDP/UNV in China. Participants also launched an exhibition of volunteer projects and activities in China.

The main activities included an opening IYV 2001 ceremony in China held in the People's University of China, jointly organized by MOFTEC, CYVA and the country office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV). Main speakers were Mr. Wang Xinggen, Director General of International Cooperation Bureau, MOFTEC; Mr. Hu Chunhua, Council Permanent Vice Chairmen of CYVA; and Mr. Yannick Glemarec, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative on behalf of UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Kerstin Leitner.

After the launch of IYV 2001, the representative of both UNDP/UNV and CICETE donated two colour television sets to the Dongfang home of the elderly in Chaoyang District, Beijing. Some Chinese and foreign volunteers and university students participated in the volunteer activities, which included cleaning streets, talking to the elderly and teaching English in Beijing's Haidian district.An interview given by Mr. Yannick Glemarec, DRR/UNDP was carried on the China Central TV, programme (CCTV) on Channel 1 and Channel 4, and Beijing TV on 5 December. National and local newspapers also reported the IYV events.