Beyond The Wall
On Thursday, November 9, 2017, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center hosted a screening of the independent film documentary Beyond the Wall. The film tells the story of four District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) high school students who were selected for a six-week Chinese language and culture program in Beijing in summer 2009. This opportunity was offered at no cost to the students through a partnership with Americans Promoting Study Abroad (APSA), with partial funding from the US State Department. The film follows the students in their homes, schools, and communities before their summer travel; during the six-week trip; and in the years since their return.
Following the screening, Sally Schwartz (Associate Producer and Director of Globalize DC) and Jeffrey Wood (Featured Beyond the Wall student and Pickering Fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies) led a rich discussion while answering questions on the film, the importance of participating in international exchange programs and how to utilize exchange opportunities to cultivate careers in international affairs and education. The diverse audience included professionals in global education, students preparing to go to China on exchange, parents, students, and persons committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in study abroad programs.
Silk Cedar Band
The Integrated Classroom: Accounting for Cultural Differences in Higher Education
On Thursday, September 28, 2017 the Confucius Institute U.S. Center welcomed Dr. Jun Liu, Vice Provost for Global Affairs at Stony Brook University, Dr. Peter Stearns, Provost Emeritus and Professor of History at George Mason University, Dr. Wenrong Xia, Chinese Deputy Director at George Washington University, and Lauren Sinclair, Ph.D, Academic Director of the International Accelerator Program at American University. The panel convened in an effort to highlight the importance of understanding and accounting for cultural differences within the classrooms of higher education institutions. With Chinese students being the largest percentage of international at each of the panelist’s respective institutions, they were each able to provide first hand accounts of both the challenges and benefits of creating integrated classrooms. The panelists also offered their perspectives on how to ‘bridge the gap’ between students on internationalized campuses and suggested that student’s be seen as individuals and campuses focus on developing ways to help international students succeed.
Kreplach & Dim Sum: Yes, There are Jews in China!
On August 15, 2017, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center partnered with the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington to host Robyn Helzner. Ms. Helzner delivered an unforgettable presentation that featured lively stories, videos, photos and music on the little known history of Jewish communities and enclaves across China.
Guests to the event were also able to tour our summer exhibition, Jewish Refugees in Shanghai. This exhibit features the personal stories of Jews that immigrated to China during the 1930s to flee the Holocaust in Europe. The exhibition was first developed in a joint effort between University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Center for Jewish Studies, the UCLA Confucius Institute, Hillel at UCLA, and the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum, and has been shown throughout the country.
Musical Diplomacy: Globalization, Cultural Synthesis, and Music as a Diplomatic Tool
On August 8, 2017 the Confucius Institute U.S. Center hosted an event on music as a tool for understanding. The event began with an introduction to the field of ethnomusicology by Dr. Kendra Salois of American University. Dr. Liu of the University of Michigan and the Central Conservatory of Music followed with a short presentation of her own on her travels as an international dulcimer musician and cultural envoy. Both professors then sat down with Lauren Schick, Program Assistant at CIUS, to discuss globalization, culture, and music as a diplomatic tool. Guests were treated to two musical performances used to demonstrate the key topics of discussion: a guzheng performance by Peggy Yupei Gong and a quartet performance of Chinese-American composition by the KOAA Quartet.
Shanghai Ghetto: Film Screening
The Confucius Institute U.S. Center screened the film ‘Shanghai Ghetto’ on July 20 2017. This 2002 documentary brought together interviews of survivors, stock footage, photos, and an original score to tell the story of the Jews of Shanghai and their rich cultural heritage. After the film guests had the opportunity to view the exhibition Jewish Refugees in Shanghai, which is currently on display in the Center’s gallery.
Jewish Refugees In Shanghai Exhibition Event
On June 8, 2017, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center hosted an opening reception for our summer exhibition, Jewish Refugees in Shanghai. The films accompanying the exhibition A Gift of Life and Testimonies were shown, and guests had the opportunity to view the exhibition. Jewish Refugees in Shanghai features the personal stories of Jews that immigrated to China during the 1930s to flee the Holocaust in Europe. The exhibition was first developed in a joint effort between University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Center for Jewish Studies, the UCLA Confucius Institute, Hillel at UCLA, and the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum, and has been shown throughout the country. The exhibition is on display in the Confucius Institute U.S. Center Gallery through August 26, 2017.
Puru Gallery Opening
On May 10, 2017, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center and the U.S.-China Policy Foundation cohosted an opening reception for the exhibition Hermit of West Mountain: A Selection of Paintings and Calligraphy by Pu Ru. Dr. Ying-Chen Peng, professor of art history at American University, lead a talk about Pu Ru’s unique place in the history of Chinese painting as a member of the Qing royal family during the period when Imperial China was overthrown, and his role as a student, literati, and teacher. A reception and time to walk through the exhibition followed. Hermit of West Mountain is on display at the Confucius Institute U.S. Center through May 20, 2017.
Global Ties: Increasing Diversity in Chinese Language and Cultural Education
On May 3, 2017, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center welcomed Brian Luckett of Howard University, Amanda Stamp of World Affairs Council-DC, Franklin Eneh of the Johns Hopkins Nanjing Center, Muriel Cooper of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and Dr. Yu Jiang, Director of the Xavier University Confucius Institute, for a discussion on increasing diversity in Chinese language and cultural education. The panelists shared their personal insights and best practices for organizations and institutions working to strengthen diversity in international education. Through breakout sessions, the discussion encouraged an open dialogue between the panelists and participants and allowed the audience to leave with an in depth understanding of the current status and future of the field. The discussion concluded with encouraging steps we can all begin to take to bring Chinese education to a variety of traditionally under represented populations.
China, A Haven for Jewish Refugees 1900 – 1941
On April 28, 2017, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center welcomed Dr. Liliane Willens, who presented her talk ‘China, A Haven for Jewish Refugees 1900 – 1941’. Dr. Willens was born in Shanghai to Russian Jewish parents, and experienced World War II under Japanese military occupation. She later emigrated to the United States and earned her PhD in French Language and Literature from Boston University. Her talk touched on her own personal story, as well as the greater geopolitical events surrounding the region during World War II. Dr. Willens’s lecture was followed by a Q&A session and book signing of her memoir Stateless in Shanghai.
Teaching Chinese Sign Language and Culture
On Thursday, March 30, 2017, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center welcomed Dr. Zheng Xuan and Dr. Kathy Johnson for a presentation on engaging people with disabilities in Chinese language education. Dr. Zheng is the first deaf person to receive a PhD in linguistics from a Chinese university. She currently serves as an instructor at the Metro Deaf School in Minnesota, the first and only Confucius Classroom that is teaching Chinese Sign Language. Dr. Zhen was joined by Dr. Kathy Johnson, director of the Confucius Institute at St. Cloud State University and advocate for the inclusion of people with disabilities in Chinese language education. Both presenters shared from their experiences and spoke about the importance of making Chinese language education accessible to all students.
Why Culture? Analyzing Success in Transnational Exchange Programs
On March 28, 2017, the Confucius Institute US Center filmed the panel discussion ‘Why Culture? Analyzing Success in Transnational Exchange Programs’. Panelists included Leonie Hodkevitch, the Director of the Cultural Management Postgraduate Course at the University of Vienna and Jennifer Schrock the Director of Cultural Exchange Programs at International Arts and Artists in Washington DC. Moderated by Bill Reeder, the former Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University, panelists discussed the field of cultural exchange in a changing world, China’s emerging role as a cultural leader, and the role of language in fostering cultural exchange.
C.A.U.S.E – China, Africa, United States, Engagement
On February 27, 2017, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center hosted a panel discussion titled, “What is the Connection?” The first in the C.A.U.S.E- China, Africa, United States, Engagement discussion series. The discussion focused on exploring trilateral connections between Africa, China and the United States in investment, education, public diplomacy and technology. Toochi Ngwangwa served as moderator for the panel which featured Ambassador David Shinn, former U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, Dr. John Paden, professor of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University, and Dr. Stephen O’Connell, professor of Economics at Swarthmore College. You can view the discussion here.
People to People Engagement in China, India, and the United States
On November 14, 2016, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center hosted a panel discussion titled, “Examining the Triangle; People to People Engagement in China, India and the United States,” which discussed the people to people interactions and public diplomacy among three important nations. China and India combined make the largest portion of international students, technology, international employees, and advanced level of professional immigrants to the United States. The interactions between China and India trickle down to everyday life and culture. Four distinguished panelists were featured at this event including Dr. Supriya Karudapuram of American University, Sourabh Gupta of Institute for China-America Studies, Ashok Mahbubani of Multitronics.com, Inc. and Dr. Indira Ravindran of Shanghai International Studies University.
ACTFL Annual Convention and World Languages Expo
In November, the CIUS Center staff traveled to Boston, Massachusetts for the ACTFL Annual Convention and World Languages Expo. Nearly 7,000 educators and professionals attended the exhibition that lasted for three days. The Convention also had educational sessions for participants to attend.
CHINA Town Hall
On October 18, 2016, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center hosted the annual CHINA Town Hall, an event presented by the National Committee on U.S. China Relations with a focus on China’s global impact. Dr. David Dollar, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s John L. Thornton China Center, delivered the opening talk on China’s outward investment initiatives including One Belt One Road and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Dr. Henry Kissinger, the 56th Secretary of State, followed via livestream from New York City and answered a series of questions submitted from individuals around the world. Topics included China’s rapid emergence as a global player, personal reflections on the development of U.S.-China relations, along with potential areas of partnership on U.S. policy priorities. The live-stream was broadcast to 85 venues across the U.S. and in China.
Dr. Henry Kissinger, the 56th Secretary of State, discussed an array of topics relating to China-U.S relations and the rise of China as a global power. He recounted his experiences of having interacted with five generations of Chinese leaders, providing advice for constructive dialogue between the two countries recalling, “we didn’t speak about our differences, we spoke of our objectives.” Kissinger also discussed the importance of people to people contact between China and the U.S. for building a true partnership in the future.
D.C. Beauty of Beijing Opera (DCBBO)
On October 8, 2016, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center, together with D.C. Beauty of Beijing Opera Ltd. (DCBBO), offered a free introductory course to Beijing Opera. This workshop was an introduction to the fundamentals of Beijing Opera, including story, performing convention, song, movement, costume and makeup. Guests were given the opportunity to sign up for a workshop series which explored these techniques in further depth. The workshop was held weekly at the CIUS Center with DCBBO from October to December.
National Honors Gala
On September 24, 2016, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center hosted its first inaugural National Honors Gala. The Gala honored the achievements of ten distinguished students of Chinese language and culture from Confucius Institutes across the country. 150 guests including government officials, former diplomats, university administrators, business and trade professionals, educators, artists, and scholars joined in the celebration of global education and the importance of people to people, cross-cultural exchanges between China and the United States.
Chinese Tea Ceremonies
In September, the CIUS Center began monthly tea ceremonies hosted by the Founder and CEO of the Social Tea House, Andrew Bittan. Tea ceremonies at the Center explore the art of “gongfu cha”, varieties of tea, and the different instruments used to conduct the ceremony.
In August, Confucius Institute U.S. Center, in conjunction with the US-China Peoples Friendship Association hosted a series of midday Taichi classes. The weekly classes were instructed by Taichi Master Nick Gracenin, a certified international coach with a 10th degree black belt. These workshops focused on the foundations of Taichi and how this ancient practice promotes holistic well-being.
Book Exhibition of America
In May, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center (CIUS Center) participated in the Book Exhibition of America which was hosted in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to the CIUS Center staff, colleagues from the Confucius Institute in Chicago and Phoenix Tree Publishing Inc. participated in the exhibition. Exhibitors from all over the United States flocked to Chicago during this time to display their publications, host activities, and promote their organizations. Chinese brush painting and other cultural displays were included at the exhibition.
Media, International Relations and Public Opinions
On March 9, 2016 the Confucius Institute U.S. Center hosted the panel discussion Media, International Relations and Public Opinions . Panelists offered their insights on the media’s influence on public opinion and the impact of media coverage on international relations. The impact of new media and social networking on public relations in the international context was also addressed. Panelists included Dr. Carl Botan, professor of Communications and Public Relations at George Mason University, Dr. Lan He, professor of International Journalism at Communication University in China, and Donghui Yu, Chief U.S. correspondent with China Review News Agency of Hong Kong. The discussion was moderated by Kevin Klose, professor of Journalism at the University of Maryland, and former editor and correspondent at the Washington Post.