Confucius Institute Update December 2010 Edition

This past year has seen the CI start to deliver on its promise to offer a comprehensive range of cross cultural experiences for the community, students and staff alike here at UQ. Here are some more highlights from our first year.

First Research Internship Study Tour to China

Sixteen UQ students from six schools in the Faculties of EAIT, Science, and Arts were selected in April to travel to China as part of a research internship study tour between 27 June and 23 July this year. The study tour was organised by the UQ Confucius Institute in cooperation with Tianjin University (TU), UQ’s partner university in China, and with the support of the EAIT, Science, and Arts Faculties, and the Office of Undergraduate Education.

During the tour the students attended classes in Chinese language and culture offered by TU, engaged in lab internships under the supervision of TU professors, and participated in social events including cultural activities on the TU campus as well as sightseeing in Tianjin city and neighbouring areas.

Upon returning to UQ, participating students submitted written reports on their experiences, and were required to give presentations in their respective Schools to their fellow students. They all regarded the study tour as a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Many of the students expressed a desire to return to China for longer-term study in the future, and said that they would definitely recommend the study tour program to other UQ students.

Research internship study tours will be held annually at least for the next three years, catering for approximately 20 students each tour. Further information about these tour opportunities will appear regularly on the Confucius Institute website.

'Chinese Bridge' prize winner receives scholarship to study in China

Based on a live recording of the initial competition here at UQ, Hanban invited Rachel Ross to participate in the world semi-finals of the prestigious “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency competition held in China in July. Two other local winners, Brooke Eason and Tomas Radovic (both from UQ), were also invited to the event as observers. Hanban covered all expenses for the three participants.

Rachel Ross continued to demonstrate her outstanding fluency in Mandarin by being named “most outstanding competitor” at the semi-finals, earning herself a Confucius Institute scholarship for her efforts. The scholarship will provide Rachael with tuition fees, living allowance, accommodation and comprehensive medical insurance for six months at a Chinese university of her choice.

HSK Test successfully held at UQ

The New HSK Chinese Proficiency Test examinations were held by the UQ Confucius Institute on St Lucia Campus on 16 October. This was the first time that the test had been held at UQ. Seventeen candidates from Brisbane and as far away as Melbourne sat for Level 1 to Level 4 tests respectively.

The HSK test is universally recognised as the only standardized exam against which the Chinese language proficiency of all non-native speakers can be evaluated. It is the most commonly used test for selecting potential employees and students who have successfully demonstrated sufficient levels of language skills to work and study in China.

The UQ Confucius Institute will organise further HSK test exams in 2011. The first exam will be on 21 May and the second exam will be held on 3 September. The May exam will include both written and oral test options.

HSK preparation courses offered by the CI

The CI organized two-hour training sessions for five consecutive weeks from 3 September to 1 October as preparation for the HSK test exams. The 10-hour HSK tutorials, taught by a senior lecturer familiar with the HSK test format, covered every important facet of the HSK written test including practice examinations, listening and grammar exercises and test paper analysis. The tutorials provided students with the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the test requirements and the confidence to successfully complete the test.

A recent report from Chinese Testing Centre shows that all the students who took HSK preparation courses have passed their respective level test.

Translation and Interpreting for SET

The Confucius Institute, in conjunction with the School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies at UQ, offered a new course in Translation and Interpreting for Science, Engineering and Technology in Semester 2, 2010.

This course is intended for people with scientific and technical backgrounds and is available to both UQ students and members of the broader community. It covers translation in engineering, information technology, medicine and mining. Students are expected to engage in practical translation sessions under the supervision of experienced lecturers. The course also provides research guidance to help students improve their understanding of translations in their relevant disciplines.

Confucius Institute Headquarters Fellowship

The UQ CI successfully recommended Dr Leong Ko, Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies at SLCCS, for a Visiting Fellowship in Chinese Studies provided by Hanban (CI headquarters). Dr Ko will undertake a research project on the translation of English movies into Chinese for a period of up to three months. The host University (to be chosen by Dr Ko) will provide full access to databases in China for his project. The fellowship provides for return airfare and local accommodation costs while Dr Ko is in China.



CI visiting fellowship

The UQ CI awarded three Visiting Fellowships to researchers both here at UQ and from Tianjin University in China, during the Second Semester, 2010.

Professor Xiwen Du from the School of Materials Science and Engineering and Professor Shixue Wang from State Key Laboratory of Engines at Tianjin University were presented their certificate of fellowship on behalf of the CI, by Professor Jin Zou, Associate Fellow of the Confucius Institute at UQ, at a ceremony at Tianjin University in August.

Dr Yuanfang Li from the School of Information Technology & Electrical Engineering at UQ received his certificate of fellowship from Professor Graham Schaffer, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture & Information Technology, and Professor Ling Li , Deputy Director of the UQ Confucius Institute, and Professor and Chair in Environmental Engineering.

The fellowships are intended to promote academic exchange and collaboration between UQ and Tianjin University, which is the Chinese partner institution of CI at UQ. The CI visiting fellows will work on research projects in collaboration with staff at the partner university, conduct a project that will benefit from local research environments, or explore opportunities for collaboration between the two universities in research and teaching.

CI Director addressed ACBC Luncheon

Professor Ping Chen, Director of the UQ Confucius Institute, was invited to give a presentation entitled ‘Languages and Business Communication in China’ at the Luncheon Roundtable of the Australia China Business Council on 16 September.

It is part of the mission of the Confucius Institute at UQ to provide information and consultancy on Chinese language, culture and business communication to local Australian corporations, industries, businesses and organizations seeking closer links with China.

Second group of students on research internship study tour to Tianjin University

The CI organized its second four-week research internship study tour to Tianjin University between 26 November and 24 December. Three students were selected from the School of Chemical Engineering to participate in the study tour. Participating students will be allowed to apply for credit (subject to satisfaction of the usual reporting and certification requirements) for industrial placement towards their UQ degree for the work they undertook at TU during the internship.

CI School Visits

The Director of the CI visited Indooroopilly State High School in September for discussions regarding Chinese Studies, the Science and mathematics programs (SET) and about involving Science teachers in research internship study tours to China.

The Director also visited the Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology (QASMT), the new selective high school at Toowong in November and held talks with its Principal, Deputy Principal and other staff on possible collaborative projects between the CI and QASMT. Mandarin Chinese is one of 4 languages offered at the school.

The CI Business Manager was invited to attend Indooroopilly State High School’s Awards Evening on 13 October and presented The University of Queensland Confucius Institute Award Prize for Year 12 Chinese. This award recognises the non-native speaking Year 12 student who has shown the most commitment to and excellence in their studies in Chinese language and culture. The recipient of the 2010 award was Koki Otsuka. This prize was offered for the first time as part of the CI’s support to high schools in Queensland.

Chinese Consulate-General in Brisbane visits UQ Confucius Institute

The Chinese Deputy Consul General in Brisbane, Ms MENG Mian and a group of 16 people from the Women’s Club at the Consulate-General, visited the Confucius Institute on 22 October. The Director and Business Manager received the delegation at the new office of the Confucius Institute. The Director gave a brief overview of The University of Queensland, followed by the roll of the UQ Confucius Institute, introduced its staff, and outlined some of the activities already organized by the CI and its partner university in China, Tianjin University.

Ms Meng expressed her appreciation for the achievements made by the UQ Confucius Institute, particularly in the promotion of Chinese language and culture, and the facilitation of student and academic exchanges between UQ and Chinese universities. Staff members of the CI gave the delegation a guided tour around UQ, including the Great Court, Art Museum and Social Sciences & Humanities Library.

Sponsored and co-sponsored activities

The Confucius Institute at UQ continues to sponsor or co-sponsor activities promoting Chinese culture. Here are some of the more recent events the CI has helped promote:

  • A large scale cultural performance entitled “Embrace China” on 10 October, organized by the All China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese. The aims of the performance were to develop and spread understanding of Chinese culture, strengthen connections with overseas Chinese communities, and promote cultural exchange between China and Australia.
  • The Brisbane Writers Festival. The CI was a joint sponsor of Shanghai-based Chinese writer Mian Mian to the 2010 Brisbane Writers Festival on 1-3 September. The University of Queensland was a major sponsor. The writer was also invited to speak at UQ for an open dialogue on her life and literary works at Abel Smith Lecture Theatre on the afternoon of 3 September attended by a senior UQ lecturer in Chinese literature. This event drew a large audience from both within UQ and the broader community
  • The “Great Wall event” on 20 October, organized by the Australia China Youth Association (ACYA) with the aim to facilitate intercultural communication between Australian and Chinese students.

In addition, the Confucius Institute at UQ sponsored an annual “Chinese Writing Contest” organized by the School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies in November. Students from thirty primary and secondary schools participated in this year’s contest.

CI Board meeting at TU on 12 October

The second CI Board Meeting for 2010 was held at Tianjin University, China on 12 October. Dr Anna Ciccarelli, DVC (I) of UQ and Chair of the CI Board, led a UQ delegation consisting of UQ CI board members and Director of the CI to Tianjin for the board meeting.

Following the welcome of the UQ delegation, Professor LIU Jianping, Chairman of University Administrative Council at TU and Vice Chair of the CI Board, introduced the Senior Deputy Director of the CI, who will begin working at UQ early next year. After the endorsement of the minutes of the July board meeting, Professor Liu proposed a motion to revise the UQ-TU Agreement to increase the number of TU members on the CI Board of Directors from its current level of four to five. The motion was formally approved by the Board.

Professor Ping Chen, Director of the CI, then delivered a detailed full year 2010 report of the Confucius Institute at UQ, including the development of the CI since October 2009, and listing programs and activities organized by the CI in 2010. Professor Chen also provided an update of the progress of the official launch of the CI scheduled on 19 November.

Other issues discussed in the board meeting included research fund applications and TU research internship study tours at UQ.

“University of Queensland Day” at Tianjin University

Following the Board meeting of the Confucius Institute on 12 October, “University of Queensland Day” was celebrated at Tianjin University on 13 October, in honour of the partnership between The University of Queensland and Tianjin University. The establishment of the Confucius Institute at UQ is a joint partnership between the two universities, and the Institute has become a catalyst for UQ and TU working together more closely than ever.

As part of the celebration of UQ Day, a workshop on Research at UQ was held at TU. The workshop comprised three sessions following a brief introduction of the Confucius Institute at UQ by Professor Ping Chen and an 8-minute video presentation of UQ International.

  • In Session one, Professor Michael Keniger, SDVC of UQ, presented an overview of research at UQ, followed by Professor Alan Lawson outlining the enhanced possibilities for research commercialization at UQ.
  • In Session two, a UQ-TU PhD Student Agreement was signed by SDVC of UQ and the Deputy President of TU.
  • In Session three, Professors Anton Middelberg from EAIT, Chen Chen from Science, Kaye Basford from NRAVS, and Ping Chen from Arts discussed current research undertakings in their respective faculties.

Other activities held during the “University of Queensland Day” at Tianjin University included a debate in English by TU students.

“Tianjin University Day" at UQ

The 19 November 2010 notes an auspicious day, “Tianjin University Day at UQ”. The day celebrated the partnership of Tianjin University and The University of Queensland, a partnership which spans the establishment of a Confucius Institute to complement Chinese language programs at UQ, through to collaborative research in vaccine development.

“Tianjin University Day” at UQ on 19 November 2010 included:

1) interactive research workshops to share knowledge on topics such as:

  • architectural design and urban planning,
  • mechanical and mining engineering,
  • civil engineering,
  • environmental science,
  • chemical engineering, and
  • electrical engineering.

2) a launch event for the Confucius Institute.

The celebration of the TU-UQ partnership on 19 November 2010 comes during a year where both TU and UQ are celebrating significant milestones, 115 and 100 year birthday celebrations, respectively.

TU-UQ are proud to be working together to develop programs that will shape our future generation’s global perspectives, and working together on collaborative research projects that will make an impact on the way we live.

Official launch of the UQ Confucius Institute on 19 November

The Confucius Institute at The University of Queensland held its official opening on 19 November 2010. The CI at UQ is Australia’s first science and technology focused Confucius Institute.

Mr CHEN Yuming, the People’s Republic of China Ambassador to Australia, and the Hon. Craig Wallace MP, Minister for Main Roads on behalf of Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, were among the honoured guests who attended the opening ceremony. During their congratulatory addresses, they both spoke of the important role the Institute will play in deepening the ties between the two countries and the critical role education plays in sustaining a prosperous future.

Mr Chen said that Confucius was one of the greatest thinkers in Chinese history and that his concept of “harmony” lies at the core of Confucius philosophy. The establishment of the Confucius Institute at UQ will not only help meet the demand for Australia’s increasing interest in learning Chinese language and culture, but importantly further strengthen the mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples in a harmonious way.

The Hon. Craig Wallace MP said that he believes that the Confucius Institute at UQ will generate increased interest in Chinese studies among all Australians and not just in Queensland. Effectively, it will act as a catalyst to help facilitate exchange and cooperation between Australia and China in education, business, science, engineering and technology.

Professor Paul Greenfield, Vice-Chancellor of UQ, said that “UQ takes great pride in hosting a Confucius Institute, and that it is the ‘icing on the cake’ to partner an institution as distinguished as Tianjin University.” Through this partnership, “the Confucius Institute is opening a new world of opportunities to the students and staff of UQ” and will strengthen UQ’s global network of excellent partners in discovery and learning.

Mr Chen and Minister Wallace accompanied by Professor Paul Greenfield, Professor LIU Jianping, Chair of Tianjin University Council, and Professor Ping Chen, Director of the Confucius Institute, together unveiled the commemorative plaque and officially launched the Confucius Institute at UQ.

A delegation of 15 senior representatives from Tianjin University, the UQ Confucius Institute’s partner university in China, attended the opening ceremony. A convivial group approaching one hundred people from within UQ and the local community also joined in the celebrations.

Seminars on research at Tianjin University

As part of the celebration of TU Day and official launch of the CI, a research workshop was held with a series of seminars given by Deans and Professors of five TU engineering and architecture schools:

  • Prof. Guanyi CHEN, Dean of School of Environmental Science and Engineering. “Research Progress, Challenges and Opportunities in Environmental Science and Engineering, Tianjin University”.
  • Prof. Jianguo MA, Dean of School of Electronic Information Engineering. “Introduction to School of Electronic Information Engineering”.
  • Prof. Zaisheng HONG, Dean of Academy of Architectural Design and City Planning. “Introduction to Tianjin University Research Institute of Architectural Design & Urban Planning”.
  • Prof. Xigang YUAN, School of Chemical Engineering. “Education, Research and Development in the School of Chemical Engineering and Technology” and a brief introduction to the School of Chemical Engineering and Technology at TU.
  • Prof. Zhenduo CUI, Dean of School of Material Science and Engineering “Introduction to the School of Materials Science and Engineering at TU”.

The aim of these seminars was for UQ and TU academics to gain a better understanding of each other's research strengths and to generate opportunities for future research collaborations between UQ and TU in the Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology faculties. They also held discussions on possible research collaborations with the UQ EAIT school delegates afterwards.

Delegation from Henan Polytechnic University

A delegation led by Vice President Professor Jiantang Yang of Henan Polytechnic University (HPU) visited the Confucius Institute at UQ on 6 December. HPU is the oldest mining university in China, with a history dating back over 100 years. It is one of the top universities specialised in coal mining engineering and associated energy technologies and environment science.

The CI Board Chair Dr Anna Ciccarelli, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (International) of UQ, met the HPU delegates. Afterwards the CI Director Professor Ping Chen and Deputy Director Prof Ling Li held a meeting with the HPU delegation and discussed opportunities for promoting cultural exchange and research collaboration between the two universities.

Dr Geoff Wang from UQ School of Chemical Engineering also attended the meeting. As a Guest Professor at HPU, Dr Wang has developed a 3-year joint research project with HPU researchers on coalbed methane recovery funded by the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). The UQ Confucius Institute will provide a platform for further development of research collaborations between UQ and HPU.