Confucius Institute Update June 2019 Edition

As 2019 hits the halfway point, The Confucius Institute at UQ (UQ CI) looks back on a busy Q1 and Q2 schedule with a sense of achievement in contributing to cross cultural understanding spanning a range of audiences and events. In the United Nations Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL 2019), a focus globally this year has been on the promotion of grass roots languages, connections with indigenous communities, peace building and international cooperation among other objectives, to strengthen awareness around the value of languages.

UQ CI, since its establishment has focused on language and cultural learning to connect communities with communication and cultural pathways. In another strong period for community interaction, UQ CI was especially pleased to again contribute to multi-cultural and indigenous engagement during the first half of 2019.

Key Events of Q1/Q2 2019: 

Indigenous connections with study tour 

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On June 23, 18 UQ students will set off on the annual UQ Research, Study and Experience Tour to Tianjin, China arranged by the Confucius Institute at UQ. The four-week program organised in collaboration with Tianjin University incorporates Chinese language tuition, cultural learning, and research and practical experiences related to their field of study.

Again in 2019, UQ CI in cooperation with the UQ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit (ATSIS) will support 3 indigenous students to engage in research and study opportunities as part of this tour. In an initiative established over a number of years, this important connection links Australian indigenous communities with China and its rich culture. All students participating in 2019 tour have also received generous support from the EAIT, Science, HASS and BEL faculties as well as UQ Employability.

Strong performances highlight Chinese Bridge 2019      

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The Queensland Preliminary round of the "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for International University Students was held at The University of Queensland on May 18, offering an opportunity for students to showcase their skills in Mandarin and Chinese Culture.

The 2019 Chinese Bridge Queensland preliminary round was jointly hosted by the Confucius Institute at The University of Queensland and the Tourism Confucius Institute at Griffith University. The Chinese Proficiency Competition preliminary round links in with the International final held in China in July/August.

With another good turn out from Queensland participants across 3 categories, the top two overall winners were then invited to compete in the International final.

For a full list of winners, please see Chinese Bridge 2019.

UQ celebrates multi-culturalism and harmony 

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UQ CI has been pleased to support UQ Life and other UQ facilitators in starting the year with a range of events promoting multi-culturalism and harmony. On March 5, the Spring Festival and Lantern Walk attracted over 2000 participants, including various foods on offer and a workshop facilitated by UQ CI on dumpling making among other activities. Four teachers from UQ CI demonstrated the preparation and cooking of dumplings as part of the workshop, as well as offering samples to audience members.

In late April, Chinese culture was a focal point of activities at UQ Union’s 11th Cultural Fiesta. UQ CI in collaboration with UQ Student Union (UQU), participated in a student-focused festival to promote cultural diversity and showcase ethnic traditions and cuisine. Lion Dancers, sponsored by UQ CI, returned to the St Lucia campus for another spectacular performance, in addition to Chinese calligraphy and other traditional cultural activities reflective of Chinese culture.

Such events and contributions continue to grow offerings on campus to students and staff, embracing a range of cultures and customs.

China forum encourages future studies

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In early May, UQ CI supported the “China in a Dynamic Changing World” Symposium at UQ, an initiative bringing together leading UQ experts on China to showcase their research, exchange ideas and discuss current developments in a multidisciplinary forum.

The symposium served as an introduction to UQ's new Understanding China course, coordinated by UQ economics lecturer Associate Professor Renuka Mahadevan and was well attended across all sessions by students and staff with an interest in China. The symposium also included wonderful Chinese cultural performances facilitated by students from Indooroopilly State High School.

The Understanding China course will be the first time six schools at UQ have worked together in a multidisciplinary way and is well supported by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s (Academic) Office. Visit the UQ School of Economics for more information on the course.

Confucianism public lecture well received

In March, world-renowned expert Professor Biao Zuo from Shanghai Maritime University delivered a public lecture as part of the second annual BrisAsia Symposium. Hosted by the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) and supported by UQ CI, the lecture discussed ancient Chinese philosophy and the role it plays in tackling contemporary challenges.

This public lecture was part of the all-day event at QPAC featuring interactive panel discussions and forums examining topics from ancient philosophy to cultural diplomacy, as well as artistic performances with local and international thought leaders.

Professor Zuo was a guest of UQ CI during this visit, enthusiastically sharing his knowledge and wisdom spanning across an illustrious academic teaching and publishing career.   

Regional Queensland workshops promote Chinese culture

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In late April, UQ CI for the first time undertook a series of cultural workshops in the wide-bay region to promote Chinese culture. The workshops focused on Taichi and arts and craft including Chinese knot making, delivered at local community centres for community members.

Such workshops, particularly in regional areas provide an important platform for a wider range of Queenslanders to develop their knowledge and understanding of differing cultures such as Chinese. These workshops were also highly complementary to UQ CI’s commitment to offering Chinese cultural and language learning opportunities to the community outside of UQ.  

CNY Celebrations welcome the Year of the Pig

Similar to previous years, UQ CI was pleased again to support local schools and organisations in their Chinese New Year celebrations. Highlighting 2019 celebrations was UQ CI’s commitment to the eighth annual Brisbane Chinese Festival held at Brisbane’s Convention and Exhibition Centre, an event organized jointly by more than 40 local Chinese community associations and the Queensland Chinese United Council. The festival’s aim was to expand appreciation for Chinese culture and promote harmony in the broader community, key essentials for the development of a multicultural society.

Also during this period schools in Brisbane, Cairns and Innisfail were again supported in their Chinese New Year programs, including Kungfu, Lion dancing and traditional music performances as well as interactive sessions such as calligraphy.

Chinese experience positive for high school students

Chinese language teaching staff in the School of Languages and Cultures as well as UQ CI facilitated various activities to provide visiting students and teachers with a “taste” of learning Chinese at The University of Queensland in February 2019.

With presentations focusing on Chinese language learning resources available at UQ, speaking practice through activities such as Chinese songs, tongue twisters, and other games, and Chinese character writing and its evolution through multimedia and authentic teaching materials, the high school student-focused sessions aimed at promoting the continuation of language pathways at the university level.

Each year, a number of schools visit UQ to attend this program, highlighting the interest in Mandarin studies amongst high school students.

Did you know? 

According to the rankings listed by The Skyscraper Center (maintained and updated by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat), half of the world’s Top 10 tallest buildings currently reside in China, with the tallest (in China) being the Shanghai Tower at 632 metres. Situated on the Pudong side of Shanghai, the impressive Shanghai Tower was designed in a layered format resembling a twist, taking almost 5 years to complete. Views from the Shanghai Tower’s 118th floor observation deck offer panoramic views of Shanghai, alongside other landmark buildings including the Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center and the Oriental Pearl Tower next to the Huangpu River. So on your next trip to Shanghai….!