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Posts Tagged ‘Confucius Institute’

Inner Mongolia University and Kentucky University renews their cultural exchange program

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
An SVG map of China with the Inner Mongolia au...

An SVG map of China with the Inner Mongolia autonomous region highlighted Legend: Image:China map legend.png (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The people, lands and livelihood of Inner Mongolia and Kentucky come together in “Living Landscapes,” a weeklong festival celebrating arts and culture from both places at Lexington, Kentucky starting on Sept. 22.

“‘Living Landscapes’ brings nearly 30 students, faculty and administrations from Inner Mongolia University (IMU) to participate in master classes, workshops and lectures at to University of Kentucky (UK),” said Huajing Maske, Director of the Confucius Institute at UK.

The weeklong program will explore both Eastern and Western cultural themes, from throat singing to classical singing, from bowl dances to musical theatre dance. In addition, there will be several art exhibitions and music and dance concerts, all free and open to the public.

“Inner Mongolia and Kentucky are horse capitals in China and the U.S.,” said Michael Tick, Dean of College of Fine Arts at UK. “We share many cultural similarities, and academically, IMU and UK both have very extensive arts programs.”

Tick said a delegation from IMU came last year for a two-day event. It was so popular, drawing more than 1,500 students, faculty, and people from the local community that they decided to expand the program this year.

English: A picture of Lexington, Kentucky take...

English: A picture of Lexington, Kentucky taken by helicopter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“They were truly traditional ethnic Mongolian musicians and dancers of the first rate,” said K.H. Khan, a retired professor of music, referring to last year’s performance.

“It was a colorful and spirited performance with one exciting surprise after another,” concurred Elaine Cook, a Lexington resident. “The performers and announcers connected with the audience in a meaningful way and it was a memorable experience.”

 This year, the delegation from IMU will not only do demonstration of local culture and costumes, but also perform with UK’s Western-trained musicians and dancers. Khan said: “What a perfect example of East meeting West and friendship between two people!”

 “The paintings, watercolors and prints by the faculty of the Art College of Inner Mongolia University provide a wonderful taste of the land and the historic equine culture of Inner Mongolia,” said Janie Welker, curator of the Art Museum at UK.

“We are extremely pleased to present them to our students, faculty and the Lexington community–we feel strongly that art is an essential tool in international understanding,” she added.

“As our world’s cultures are brought together ever faster, a global experience has proved an indispensable part of a student’s full college experience,” Tick said.

“Our partnership with the Art College of IMU has proved invaluable to both our students and our faculty. Living Landscapes is more than a celebration of the horse; it is a celebration of artists dedicated to excellence at the very highest level,” he added.

“This week of academic and cultural activities is a great testimony to the kind of collaboration the Confucius Institute brings to campus,” said Maske.

 “Living Landscapes” runs from Sept. 22 to 28. Performing arts events include: A concert of traditional Inner Mongolian music and dance; a collaborative concert of music and dance featuring students from the UK dance minor, UK Percussion Ensemble, UK Jazz Ensemble and an improvisatory ensemble with students from IMU; and an orchestral concert of both Inner Mongolian and American compositions featuring the UK Symphony Orchestra and guests from IMU.

Art exhibitions include: A juried exhibition of works by students from UK and IMU; an exhibition of works by faculty of the UK School of Art and Visual Studies; and an exhibition of works by faculty of IMU.

This celebration of international arts and culture is a collaboration of the UK Confucius Institute, UK College of Fine Arts, IMU Art College and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region International Culture Association. For more details, visit

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: a memoir of China, which has been developed into an award-winning feature-length documentary film by Susan Morgan Cooper and is narrated by Jacqueline Bisset. Visit for more information.



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Curious and eager Chinese language students

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

I had the pleasure of working with the Confucius Institute in Chicago, and through them, giving talks about bringing Chinese culture into the classrooms of Chinese language studies at Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

CPS students listening to my talk about Chinese tea.

CPS students listening to my talk about Chinese tea.

CPS has one of the most successful Chinese language teaching programs in the U.S., with more than 13,000 students from elementary to high schools enrolled in the program. I started by giving workshops to Chinese language teachers at the Confucius Institute, providing tools and insights in integrating Chinese heritage and culture in their language teaching, and later, talking directly to students in different grades at CPS schools. I very much enjoyed the experience.

All the Chinese language teachers whom I’ve met, either native Chinese or Americans speaking fluent Chinese, are very enthusiastic about their mission. While a few have been teaching Chinese for years and accumulated a wealth of experience, most of the teachers are young and have started their teaching career not that long ago. Many of them have a heavy workload, teaching five classes of different levels nearly every day.

Students watched with great interest how tea is brewed and served.

Students watching with great interest how tea is brewed and served.

My talks included introducing Confucian ideologies, classic vernacular literature, Chinese folk arts, and tea culture to the teachers and students. Only when I started talking to students directly, did I realize how curious and eager they wanted to learn and how helpful it would be to make their language learning experience more enriched and fun by bringing more culture related content.

My latest 10 hours of presentations to students in various grades brought me a lot of joy and convinced me that more should be done in this front. These pictures here show how engaged the students were.

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China, which has been developed into an award-winning feature-length documentary movie and is narrated by Jacqueline Bisset. Visit for more information.

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An Evening of Outstanding Performance

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

By Jian Ping

Dai Ethnic Dance "Green"

Last Friday, the Confucius Institute in Chicago (CIC) invited Dong Fang Chinese Performing Arts Association to give a performance of Chinese dances and singing to a select group of administrators, teachers and students of the Chicago Public School (CPS). It was an evening of sharing cultural heritage and celebrating the Year of the Rabbit. CPS offers Chinese in 43 of its schools, with more than 12,000 students in the Chinese language program.

I made my way there, partially to learn more about Dong Fang, and partially to watch one of my close girlfriends dance. I must say that I was blown away by the high quality of the performance!

From the elegant dances of “Bamboo in the Moonlight”, “Flowers in the Rain” and “Green”, to the professional level of singing from Puccini’s Opera “Turandot”, the evening’s performance captivated me and the rest of the audience. It was hard to believe they were a group of amateurs. I was thoroughly impressed by my friend’s dance: she was not only elegant and beautiful, but also full of grace. And more, she appeared relaxed and was enjoying every move on the stage! What a talent.  

I later learned that the Dong Fang was founded in 2005. It has over 150 members in 5 groups: chorus, dance, theater, Beijing Opera and Chinese Variety Arts. They have given more than 50 performances since its inception.

I talked with Terry Mazany, Chief Executive Officer of CPS, and Jane Lu, Director of CIC after the performance and was pleased to hear that they were equally impressed.

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China. Visit or for more information. Mulberry Child is being developed into a feature-length documentary film by award winning director Susan Morgan Cooper and will be released in 2011.

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