Elyn MacInnis

"My name is Mu Yanling, or Elyn MacInnis. I am from the United States and have lived in China for 30 years. My family has a long story with Kuliang."

Elyn's family story with Kuliang began in 1940 when her father-in-law, Donald MacInnis, then a young university student, came to teach at Yinghua Middle School in Fuzhou, Fujian province, for a year. This experience ignited his deep love for China. Subsequently, he joined the Flying Tigers to help China fight against the Japanese invaders. After the war, he returned to China twice: once to teach at Fukien Christian University and again at the age of 84 to teach at Wuyi University. Donald MacInnis passed away in 2005, and his ashes were scattered in the Minjiang River in Fujian in accordance with his wishes, symbolizing his deep affection for the land.

Donald's son, Peter, was born in Fuzhou and inherited his father's deep affection for China. Peter and Elyn named their two daughters Ai Zhong and Ai Hua, meaning "Love China". Elyn and her daughter Ai Hua both became well-known foreign hosts on China Central Television, serving as bridges for cultural exchange between China and the United States.

Born in 1951, Elyn holds a master's degree from Harvard University and has been engaged in cultural and educational work in China for many years. For 30 years, she has raised funds for the Xuzhou Pengcheng Special Education School and organized the establishment of a children's neurofeedback EEG training program. In cooperation with UNESCO, she helped build a modern teaching building for the school. Additionally, she raised funds from foreign organizations for various Chinese educational projects such as the Spring Bud School and the Golden Key Educational Plan for Children with Visual Impairments.

In recent years, Elyn has been dedicated to researching Kuliang culture and fostering friendly exchanges between China and the US. Since 2015, she has served as a senior advisor and chief researcher at the Kuliang Tourism and Culture Association. She has unearthed and collected a wealth of historical materials about Kuliang and edited and published three books on its history, including a bilingual Chinese-English book titled The Kuliang Album, compiled in 2021 to coincide with the 44th World Heritage Conference. Additionally, she created an English website of Kuliang for foreign friends, helping Kuliang seek and connect with the descendants of foreigners who once lived there. She has organized multiple Dreaming of Kuliang events to promote the spirit of peace, friendship and love and tell Kuliang stories.

In 2018, Elyn was awarded the Jiangsu Friendship Award, and in 2019, she was honored with the title of "Honorary Citizen of Fuzhou".

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