Dear AITECE teachers,
It seems a bit strange to be talking about the end of term in a context where most of you have been teaching on line in China, or from your home countries. Nevertheless, teachers have been using end- of- term language, such as giving final exams, though these are given and taken on line. This is just one example of the way the world of teachers has changed dramatically because of the corona virus.
Unfortunately, we still don’t know when it will be possible for teachers to return to China. Various wai-bans have said that it is unlikely that this will be in September. Hence, we are still left with uncertainty.
However, we can derive some encouragement from the fact that we have a new applicant for next term.
The last Newsletter contained the sad news of various deaths, one of which was that of one of the founders of Aitece, Leo Goodstadt. In this letter we are sad to inform you of the death of another founder, Audrey Donnithorne, who died on June 9 and whose funeral Mass took place in Hong Kong on June 26. May she rest in peace.
She was born in Sichuan Province in 1922 of Anglican Missionary parents, but became a Catholic when studying economics in Oxford University, England. After graduating from Oxford she was a research student at University college, London. Moving to Australian National University in Canberra, she was appointed head of the Contemporary China Centre. She became a world expert on the Chinese economy about which she wrote extensively. Her concern for China wasn’t simply at the academic level. She was committed to the advancement of the Chinese people at the material and religious levels. On her retirement from Australian National University in 1985 she came to live in Hong Kong from where she took a keen interest in life in China which she often visited. Her commitment to China was the context for her co-founding AITECE in !988. Only last year she completed and published the first volume of her autobiography, China: In Life’s Foreground. May she rest in peace.
We are very grateful to John Wotherspoon, the only remaining co-founder of AITECE, for the following reflection on Audrey and the beginnings of AITECE:
In 1986 a mutual friend introduced me to Audrey, after which I met her several times and learned much about her love for China. In 1987, on the front steps of Notre Dame College, in Kowloon City, after Audrey had lunch there with the Oblate community, I asked her why the Amity foundation was able to send teachers to China but there was no similar Catholic organization. She immediately replied, “Let’s start one!” and not long after there was a meeting at the Hong Kong Club where the two of us were joined by Fr. Ned Kelly S.S.C. and former Government adviser, Leo Goodstadt. Not long after this AITECE was formally incorporated and began sending teachers to China. Audrey was the mother of AITECE! She was a larger- than life personality whose love for China matched that of Matteo Ricci. May her prayers from Heaven, where she is no doubt enjoying much reminiscing with Ned, Leo and Matteo, encourage us to keep up our love for China.
After the last Newsletter we received an email from Francis Cammiade , who taught in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province from 2005 to 2009 and again in 2013, and in Chongqing in 1912. He says about his life in China, in words which must of you would reecho, “it has been such an interesting part of my life. In a way it was my life for several years, and I can easily see myself as back in China again.”
We would like to offer our condolences to Francis who lost his twin brother in April this year.
As the holiday period begins, we would like to express the hope that these months will be a time of renewal and relaxation for all our teachers. Unfortunately, it still isn’t clear when the new term will begin. Would anyone who is finishing his/her assignment or isn’t planning to return to China for the new academic year, please let us know.
With every best wish,
Joe and Rita