Five Millennia of Chinese Characters was hosted by the Confucius Institute in February. Nearly 300 people, including UQ staff and students, and members of the public with an interest in Chinese culture enjoyed snippets of a wide cross-section of ancient and contemporary artistic heritage including Peking and Sichuan (face-changing) opera, a Tai Chi demonstration, classical Chinese and Tibetan dance, a musical performance with traditional Chinese instruments, and other folk singing and dancing performances.
Luncheon to celebrate new Confucius Institute
A special luncheon was held in March to celebrate the creation of the Confucius Institute at UQ. The event was hosted by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor International (Acting) Professor Mick McManus. The Institute’s Director, Professor Ping Chen, gave a progress report introducing new staff, and activities such as the China-Australia forum, student exchange, upcoming public lectures and seminars. Professor Max Lu, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), spoke of the significance of the new Institute, and the role it will play in facilitating mutual understanding between China and Australia and increasing academic collaboration with China in the fields of SET and Chinese studies. Professor Lu wished the new Confucius Institute luck, and called for support from the academic community.
Chinese Proficiency Competition
The Confucius Institute hosted the Queensland Preliminary Competition for the ninth annual international “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition in May. This was the first time that the competition had been held independently in Queensland, giving students a better chance of being able to compete in China later this year. Five other universities were invited to participate, including Bond, Griffith, QUT, USQ, and James Cook University. Sixteen students competed for five hours, and first prize went to Rachel Rose from UQ. Hanban has invited Ms Rose to the semi-final competition in China, and invited two additional winners - Brooke Eason and Tomas Radovic, each also studying at UQ - to the event as observers, with all expenses covered by Hanban.
Reporters from Voice of Australian Chinese radio, the Australian Mirror Migrant News Weekly, China Central Television, and Xinhua News Agency were on hand to record and report on the event. The competition was also reported by local Chinese newspapers including Queensland Chinese Times, Asian Community News, and Queensland Chinese News. A news story in Mandarin can be found on the Botong Global News website: http://www.botong.com.au/news/aunz/2010-05-19/60349.html.
Public Lecture Series
The first of a series of public lectures on Chinese Culture was held in April. Dr Man Jiang spoke about “Traditional Chinese Medicine – How it Differs from Western Medicine and How Australians can Benefit from it”. Nearly 80 people from UQ and the broader community attended the lecture. Attendees commented that the lecture was very interesting and informative, contributing to better understanding of TCM.
Research Internship Study Tour
Sixteen UQ students were selected to participate in a study tour to Tianjin University from 27 June to 23 July. The students are from six schools in the Faculties of EAIT, Science, and Arts. The tailored program focuses on areas of mutual interest and strengths in chemical engineering, civil engineering, urban planning, and Chinese studies. When they return to Australia, the students will report to their respective schools and to the Confucius Institute on their experience.
China Scholarship Council (CSC) Engagement
To encourage greater interaction between Chinese and Australian PhD students, the Confucius Institute has supported CSC enquiries for Tianjin University students. So far in 2010, two CSC applicants applied to undertake PhD research at UQ, one in the School of Civil Engineering and the other in the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management. Both applicants were granted admission and awarded UQ-CSC tuition fee waiver scholarships.
Meeting with Visitors from Overseas
The Confucius Institute met with a number of delegations from overseas, to discuss opportunities of academic exchange and collaboration in the fields of science, engineering and technology (SET) and Chinese Studies. In June, high-level UQ staff met with the Confucius Institute’s partner university, Tianjin University, to discuss student exchange programs, including the CSC program and research internship short-term study tour to Tianjin University, and staff exchange and collaboration programs, including especially the short-term visiting fellowship program.
Co-hosted UQ Events
The Confucius Institute has co-organised several events at UQ, including a Translation and Interpreting Symposium (with the School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies), a seminar entitled “A Journey of Success – From Beijing to Sydney” by Mr Joseph Chou, CEO of Ironfish Group (with the BEL Faculty), and two symposia on Chinese culture (with the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics): “Silver and Ming-Qing Economy” by Professor Deng Gang (London School of Economics), and “Intellectual History and the Inner Logic of Chinese Philosophy” by Professor John Makeham (ANU).
HSK Chinese Proficiency Test
The Confucius Institute at UQ has been approved to offer the HSK Chinese Language Proficiency Test. The first test will be held on 17 October.
Chinese Proficiency Certificates are issued by the China National Committee for Chinese Proficiency Test (CNCCPT) in accordance with HSK scores and are recognized in many countries. The certificates are a reference standard with value for:
- Employers: when recruiting staff for positions in which Chinese language skills are necessary or beneficial;
- Educational institutions: when assessing applications for enrolment in Chinese educational institutions, for granting credit and exemption from courses;
- Related Chinese teaching institutions and training organisations: to evaluate teaching standards and the effectiveness of different training methods; and
- Chinese students: to improve their standard Mandarin Chinese skills.
Additionally, candidates with excellent HSK scores may be eligible for scholarships offered by CNCCPT to study in China.
'Chinese Bridge’ Competition Winners’ BBQ
A BBQ party was held by the Chinese Consulate General in Brisbane to celebrate the winners of the Queensland Preliminaries for the 9th ‘Chinese Bridge’ Chinese Proficiency Competition. The celebration was held at Roma Street Parkland on the 26th of June. The competition winners, other contestants, and staff from the Confucius Institute at UQ (organizers of the 2010 Queensland Preliminaries) were in attendance, as well as learners and teachers of Chinese from other universities and institutions. The Consul-General spoke, giving his congratulations to the competition winners, who were leaving for the Semi-final and Final competitions in China shortly thereafter. The Consul-General also expressed his appreciation to the UQ Confucius Institute for organizing the competition. He encouraged the contestants and other Chinese learners to continue their study of Chinese language and culture.
First board meeting 2010
The new Confucius Institute at UQ held its first board meeting by videoconference in July. Dr Anna Ciccarelli, DVC (I) at UQ and Chair of the CI board, Professor Jianping Liu,Chairman of University Administrative Council at TU and Vice Chair of the CI Board, as well as all other board members, were present at the videoconference.
Following the welcome and reintroduction of the Board of Directors, and the endorsement of the minutes of last meeting, the Vice Chair reviewed social, economic, and educational developments in China, particularly China’s higher education developments and progress of the Confucius Institutes. He remarked that this Confucius Institute would be an important platform for the bilateral cooperation between the two universities as well as strengthening Chinese studies in Queensland.
Professor Ping Chen, Director of the CI, presented a detailed interim progress report and overview of the budget submission to Hanban 2011 after introducing additional CI staff members. The Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts provided an update of the progress towards the official launch of the CI, and dates for the next board meeting (to be held at Tianjin University in October) were discussed.