Spoiler alert: The University of Idaho Confucius Institute and Lewis-Clark State College will be doing some awesome stuff January 2017! On top of the cool things we are already getting ironed out with our other friends between now and then. I’d recommend joining our newsletter or liking our Facebook page to keep up on it all!
As my directors and I met with our colleagues from the Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts & History earlier this week to begin planning our joint 2017 Chinese New Year event, we had a moment to assess through our explanations of “what do we do” how much we actually accomplish (and have already accomplished) at the University of Idaho Confucius Institute.
This past year alone we had some spectacular China on the Palouse seminars with guest speakers Robert Snyder, Priscilla Wegars, Terry Abraham, and Gregory Nokes. The Soochow University Art Troupe which was invited as part of our Global Confucius Institute Day celebrations beguiled audiences at the University of Idaho Administration Building Auditorium with their acrobatic feats. Renowned artist Qin Bailan shared her elegant artwork with the people of Boise on the longest and most popular stop of her tour around the United States. Masterful musicians from the South China University of Technology – Dr. Zhong Huoming, Sun Zhongqi, Su Zixhuan and An Peizhou – were welcome additions to the wildly wonderful Lionel Hampton School of Music’s World Music Celebration. We explored the topics of politics and immigration since 1882 with help from the Latah County Historical Society, readied the UI Men’s Basketball team for their Atlas Challenge adventure (where they traveled to China to compete in exhibition games against teams from Macedonia, Lithuania, Iran and of course the Chinese National Team), and sent UI junior Annelisa Wu to participate in the 6th Chinese Bridge Speech Contest for University Students in Boston, Massachusetts where she performed spectacularly!
We’ve showed eight great pieces of Chinese cinema as part of our Moscow Chinese Movie Night at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre with more to go through the summer, held eight Chinese Food Club meetings at Moscow’s 1912 Center, welcomed new Vandals at both UIdaho Bound events this spring, celebrated global cultures at UI Cruise the World in the Bruce M. Pitman Center, and even had a blast playing Chinese trivia games at a fairly smoky Palousafest on the Theophilus Tower lawn at the start of it all last September!
Our presence in Boise is increasing as well with the opening our satellite office in January at the Idaho Water Center. Our China in the Treasure Valley seminar series kicked off in April with more special guest presenters scheduled to visit this fall, we worked with the UI Asian American Comparative Collection and UI donors to prominently display Chinese artifacts to the public, our Boise Chinese Movie Nights kicked off last month with the next film showings in July and August ready to roll, and a new chapter of our Chinese Food Club is set to begin in Boise soon. Have you met our instructors in Boise, Ms. Chen and Ms. Li? Make your way down to The Boise Farmers Market to introduce yourself on August 27 if you didn’t meet there them already on July 2!
And as I was just reminded, how could I forget to mention our involvement with the Spokane Chinese Lantern Festival? Did you hear that we’re helping to sponsor the main stage events again? Or that the lantern displays will be even bigger and brighter than last year? Maybe you’ll make your way to the “Lilac City” this year to spend a glittering evening walk around Riverfront Park and catch some of the antics in person! (Let’s hope I still have a job after sharing that link.)
And that’s on top of organizing a delegation of Idaho educators to visit China, assisting with recruitment advertising for the Idaho Governor’s 2016 Trade Mission to China, sending UI and BSU scholars to China to bridge classrooms and students in our two countries, bringing visiting Chinese scholars and specialists to Idaho, establishing educational collaboration ventures with partner Chinese schools, offering an array of official testing options (from BCT to HSK tests), and continuing K-12 Chinese language program development and classroom support into north and south Idaho. Oh, and the academic conference we are preparing to host! And, you know, offering superb university undergraduate level and community classes.
In doing all of these things, your University of Idaho Confucius Institute aims to provide the best in Chinese language and culture education to the citizens of Idaho. Every year since 2013 we have added new programs, invited talented performers and erudite presenters, partnered with amazing community organizations, cultivated new friendships and helped students young and old to explore the world of Chinese language and culture that is now much more accessible and closer to home.
Speaking of which, I have our program assistant’s summer Chinese challenge to try to set up for myself. If you want to give his challenge a go as well, let him know by sending him a message on our Facebook page or one of them tweets on Twitter. I think he enjoys hearing about the progress being made out there by people learning something new almost as much as our instructors do. Small steps of progress in personal development squeezed in where we can, right?