Confucius Institute to Celebrate 1st Year at UT Dallas

Festivities to Recognize Achievements in Promoting Chinese Language and Culture

Oct. 15, 2008

As Ming Dong Gu, Xuanchuan LIU and Sharon Yang busily prepare for the Nov. 8 first anniversary of the Confucius Institute at UT Dallas, they pause to reflect on its growth during this inaugural year.

“We are gratified and humbled when we consider the accomplishments of the past months,” said Dr. Ming Dong Gu, institute director. “In less than a year, and with limited resources, the Confucius Institute has done a great deal to promote the teaching of Chinese language and culture on campus and spread an understanding of China to the wider community.”

Building the institute took meticulous crafting and relied heavily on international partnerships, University commitments and community support.

Origins

The Confucius Institute was created from a partnership between China Three Gorges University (CTGU) and The University of Texas at Dallas. The Confucius Institute headquarters in Beijing provided initial funding and guidance.

“Having a Confucius Institute has expanded Chinese courses at UT Dallas in Chinese language, history, literature and intellectual thought,” said Gu. “The co-director, Mr. LIU from Three Gorges, has helped me with the day-to-day operations of the institute, keeping in communication with Confucius Institute headquarters and strengthening the bonds between the university partners.”

Possibly the biggest proponent of the Confucius Institute is Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities Dennis Kratz. Under his direction, the Chinese studies program has doubled its class size.

“The relationship between the U. S. and China is one of the most important of the century,” said Kratz. “It is imperative that, more than studying China, U. S. leaders continue the mutual dialogue with their Chinese counterparts.”

Community support is evident by the high attendance at institute events. Approximately 500 people participated in the opening celebration last year, and roughly 150 people attended a recent lecture by Professor Ban Wang on the influence of Chinese politics in film.

In Celebration

To celebrate its first year, the institute has planned a day of festivities on Saturday, Nov. 8, with events that include Chinese films and arts performances.

All the activities will be held at the Conference Center, located near the corner of Drive A and Rutford on campus. Admission is free.

Looking Ahead

Plans for the institute’s second year include:

  • Five courses in Chinese language and four courses on Chinese literature and culture currently taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and eight language and culture classes planned for the spring semester
  • a calligraphy course taught by visiting instructor Xiaoming Ren, from CTGU
  • a two-week residence at UT Dallas of internationally renowned Lily Cai Dance Company, occurring in conjunction with performances at the Eisemann Center in Richardson
  • a three-part lecture series with Drs. Ban Wang, J. Hillis Miller and Roger Ames
  • Texas’ first international symposium on Chinese translation, to be held in April 2009
  • Bi-directional Chinese cultural and language training for local businesses.

For more information about the Confucius Institute at UT Dallas, visit ah.utdallas.edu/Confucius or call 972-883-4860.


Media Contacts: Karah Hosek, UT Dallas, 972-883-4329, karah.hosek@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, 972-883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Chinese folk dancing

Above: Traditional Chinese folk dance is one of many expressions of Chinese culture to be featured at the Confucius Institute Nov. 8 anniversary celebration.

Below: Confucius Institute Director Ming Dong Gu (left) has an earnest supporter in School of Arts and Humanities Dean Dennis Kratz.

Ming Dong Gu and Dennis Kratz

 

Celebration Schedule

The festivities on Saturday, Nov. 8, include:

  • 3 p.m. – Chinese Film Festival, subtitled in English
  • 7:30 p.m. – Chinese performances of folk dance by Jiaping Shi Dancing School; cross-talk and poem recitation by UT Dallas Students; musical instrument performance by artists from the Chinese Music Society; calligraphy demonstration by Xiaoming Ren; folk songs by Liu Xiang; and a fashion show featuring traditional Chinese apparel by UT Dallas students.

All the activities will be held at the Conference Center, located near the corner of Drive A and Rutford on campus. Admission is free.

 

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