Language as a Matchmaker, Culture as a Mediator

September 28, 2015

Language as a matchmaker, culture as a mediator
- CIUA Fourth Confucius Institute "Chinese Language and Culture Day" has unprecedented attendance

Chinese Language and Culture Day, also known as World Confucius Institute Day, held on September 26th was the highlight of the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona’s 4th Annual Chinese Culture Festival. Early in the morning, the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, decorated with traditional red lanterns and endless knots, is surging with a crowd. Nearly 2,000 people from local schools, including teachers and students from Tucson, parents and community members were involved.

Two language proficiency competitions were held in the morning: the 2016 Chinese Bridge preliminary contest. In addition, Chinese drama and a China-related knowledge contest attracted many guests.The crowd of spectators for the Chinese Bridge competition filled the entire classroom. High schooler Trip Rosemfel said his goal is to become a doctor in China and to help Chinese patients. At this point, the competition is no longer important, his feelings about China are even more precious. In the Chinese drama and knowledge contest, among 11 groups, more than 50 students from different middle schools competed in elementary, intermediate and advanced language groups. Life-like stage props, vivid dramatic performances, and innocent Chinese expressions characterized the event; aquiz which tested contestants’ resourcefulness in an emergency, made the audience cheer and applaud again and again. 

The Chinese culture-related talent show provided a stage for students who love learning about Chinese culture. Seventeen programs including more than 400 students attracted an audience of more than 1000. The scene was very lively and unprecedented. More than 50 children from Basis Tucson performed a dance, "Little Apple," which ignited the audience’s enthusiasm and brought the event to a climax. The interpretation by 12 young girls from the Tucson Chinese School of unique ethnic customs of the Mongolian dance "Shout Call Seoul” won universal applause. The CIUA youth martial arts group led by Master Peifeng Jiang performed "martial juvenile" as a finale, showing Chinese martial valor.  The CIUA martial arts team became heroes to the children in the audience audience. 


A variety of Chinese cultural experience activities were also convened. Three CIUA musicians from the China Conservatory of Music and CIUA students from the University of Arizona Purple Bamboo Chinese music ensemble performed together as a welcoming band, bringing beautiful Chinese “silk and bamboo music” to all our guests. Performances on the erhu, guzheng, sheng, xiao and other traditional ethnic musical instruments refreshed the audience. 

A special painting and calligraphy exhibition celebrating the second "World Confucius Institute Day" was especially eye-catching; each piece of Chinese calligraphy and painting demonstrates American children’s understanding as well as their tender and bold artistic talent. 

Special activity areas devoted to learning paper cutting, face painting, Chinese music , dance and martial arts among others experienced a steady and constant flow of people with many students and parents eager to participate, laugh and play. 

The "Get a Chinese name" booth had a long queue of people waiting patiently for their teachers to give them a wonderful Chinese name.  When they learned the meaning of their names, many excitedly took their brush-written names from their teachers, treating it as a beloved treasure with unusually satisfied smiles. 

O, the Tucson Chinese Community Center’s outdoor basketball court, CIUA staff and Chinese students along with community member volunteers conducted a variety of Chinese traditional games, such as shuttlecock, diabolo, roll-hoop, skip rubber band, tug-of-war, Chinese character puzzles and other activities, ensuring that our Tucson American friends had a deep and broad Chinese culture experience. 

In addition, exhibit booths devoted to Chinese culture, traditional Chinese medicine healthcare, and CIUA’s courses and projects attracted people and encouraged them to linger. Chinese language and culture as a medium is the communication link that bridges the Chinese and American people.

At 2:30 pm, an awards ceremony was convened. The President of the Tucson Overseas Chinese Association, Miss Liao Ying gave a short speech in which she thanked all the guests present and congratulated the success of Chinese Language and Culture Day.  She said she looked forward to seeing the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona making even greater contributions to the dissemination of Chinese language and culture in the future. Finally, in a warm atmosphere, CIUA co-director Professor Chen Zhao and CIUA Chinese director Wei Zhao presented awards to all categories of winners. 

The 2015 co-convened Chinese Language and Culture Day and "Confucius Institute Day" had the largest ever recorded number of participants.  It has gradually become the main platform for Tucson’s Chinese language and culture education through the crucial selection of outstanding student participants as well as a multiple-platform venue for local students to experience and learn about Chinese culture. It is a strong impetus for local Chinese language teaching, and the dissemination of Chinese culture, playing an important role in the promotion of cultural exchanges between China and United States as well as the enduring friendship of the peoples of these two countries.