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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Chinese Culture Festival brings culture to UA

    Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildca
    Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildcat Wei Zhao, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute, and visiting scholor of martial arts Peifeng Jiang work to create an interactive display for the Chinese Culture Festival happening on Saturday at the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center on Thursday, Sept. 18th. The images displayed all contain various Chinese characters and students from Confucius Institutions around the world.

    Tucson is a melting pot of visitors from China, Korea, Russia, Germany and more. This weekend will witness the third annual Chinese Culture Festival at the UA, hosted by the Confucius Institute on campus. The festival will run from Sept. 20-28 and will consist of several events and lectures.

    The theme of the festival centers around “health promotion and wellness.” The institute was founded upon the idea of supporting the Hanban’s strategic plan by combining local characteristics, innovative methods and an integrative approach in order to enhance people’s understanding and appreciation of Chinese language and cultural heritages.

    Not only is this the third annual Chinese Culture Festival here at the UA, but this month also marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of Confucius Institutes around the world.

    “CIUA has established solid languages and culture programs in Tucson,” said professor Zhao Chen, one of the co-directors of CIUA.

    Zhao Chen added that five new CIUA-affiliated Confucius Classrooms were approved and funded for K-12 schools in the last two years. The CIUA summer camp program has been well received and has now expanded from Tucson to China, according to Zhao Chen.

    “We try to make it a variety; we have herbal medicine, acupuncture,” said Larry Lang, senior program coordinator, on the theme of the festivals. “There’s so many people interested in alternative medicine apart from western medicine.”

    Jun Chen, a volunteer, said this will be her first time at the festival and volunteering.

    “I think it will be very interesting,” Jun Chen said, “and I’m happy that many people have great interest in Chinese culture.” She added that it will help in bringing awareness to China, awareness of its culture and will help students explore that culture and enjoy it.

    Students in the CIUA K-12 outreach programs will attend the festival to compete in the language competition and martial arts demonstration. The demographic of attendants varies from children, and parents, to UA students. Last year alone, there were around 3000 people who attended the festival.

    “Each of [the institutes] engages the universities locally,” Larry Lang said. “Mainly [located at] universities.”

    The institute focuses on Chinese medicine, martial arts, the performing arts and in education/outreach programs. The mission of the institute is to provide comprehensive training in the Chinese language and to train teachers in both general and disciplinary-specific English and pedagogies.

    “We’ve planned the Chinese Culture Festival to appeal to as many [people] as possible,” said John Olsen, Regents’ Professor and CIUA co-director, on the appeal of the festival. “We believe that everyone will find something to captivate their attention and expand their horizon at the events and performances [that will] range from traditional music to Taiji.”

    The lectures and events being held at the festival will feature UA professors sharing their knowledge of the Chinese culture. Lang says the takeaway from the festival is that the knowledge can be shared with the next generation, as well as correct all the misconceptions of the culture.

    The festival will be held on UA campus and other venues across Tucson. It is open to the public and most events are free. A list of events can be found on the institute website.

    Follow Ivana Goldtooth on Twitter @goldiechik93

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