UAlbany Confucius Institute Makes Great Strides in Engaging and Serving the Large Community

UAlbany Confucius Institute (CI), led by Executive Director Dr. Youqin Huang, an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, are making great strides in engaging and serving both the university community and the public in the capital region through Chinese language instructions, cultural events, business seminars, and speaker series.

In addition to offering Chinese language classes to UAlbany students, Confucius Institute offers Chinese language classes in Tech Valley High School in Albany and Albany Pine Hill Library. Starting from January, 2017, Chinese language classes will also be expanded to other schools such as North Albany Academy and Albany School of Humanity. CI plays an important role in Chinese language learning even for communities beyond the capital region. For example, on Oct. 12, CI welcomed 35 Chinese language students from Leland and Gray Union High School from Vermont to UAlbany and offered Chinese language instruction.

At the same time, CI offers many cultural events and activities to help the community better understand Chinese culture. For example, on September 17th, 2016, CI held the Mid-autumn Festival in the Assembly Hall, with an “Elixir of Love” Art Show featuring Chinese Batik & Embroidery Painting by a visiting art professor from Beijing, Prof. Tingting Zhang, and traditional celebrations activities such as lantern riddles, music and dance. On September 30th, 2015, CI held a Chinese Film Festival on campus, featuring several Chinese films with different genres. On Oct 23rd, students and professors from the Art College of Inner Mongolian University, China came to UAlbany, and gave a spectacular performance of Mongolian music and dance in Campus Center Ballroom. More than 400 people from both the university and the community enjoyed a sensational feast of music and dance, and they got to appreciate three UNESCO intangible cultural heritages in Inner Mongolia, China: Khoomei (or throat singing), Mongolian Long Song, and Horsehead Fiddle.

In addition to these cultural events held on campus, CI goes into the community and offers cultural events at various locations off campus. For example, on Oct. 8th, CI held a seminar “Face to Face with Artists” in Guilderland Public Library on how to preserve and redesign traditional intangible cultural heritages in China, with visiting professors and UA faculty from different disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, geography and planning, and art. On Oct. 23, CI participated the Festival of Nations, showcasing Chinese culture especially calligraphy, which attracted many people at the event. On Nov. 5th, CI sponsored a workshop on intangible cultural heritage and handmade wool felt art at the Chinese Community Center. Starting from January, 2017, CI will have monthly Chinese Culture seminars in local libraries, to further help the large community appreciate Chinese culture.

CI also engages the business community in the capital region by offering regular business seminars about Chinese economy and business culture in China.

Meanwhile, there are many academic activities on campus such as speaker series, workshops and conferences, which bring together scholars from different fields to better understand China.

In sum, CI is making huge strides in engaging and serving the public and the community through Chinese language instructions, Chinese cultural events, business seminars, and academic activities.

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