On Saturday, January 29th 2011 UCA Confucius Institute and UCA Chinese Students and Scholars Association held a celebration of the Chinese New Year, “the Year of the Rabbit.” The celebration included a reception for UCA Chinese faculty and Confucius Institute guests, Chinese cultural performance in Ida Waldron Auditorium, and a dinner held in the Student Center Ballroom.
President Meadors offered his warm New Year wishes at the reception to Chinese faculty at UCA and praised their contribution to the UCA community. He talked about the importance of growing appreciation of other cultures. Other speakers from UCA included Dr. Alexander Chen, Associate VP of International Engagement, and Dr. Guo-ou Zhuang, the director of UCACI, who spoke about the work and future plan of UCA’s Confucius Institute. Dr. Benjamin Perry, Superintendent of Wynne Schools, praised the collaboration with UCA Confucius Institute and spoke of his exciting experience of visiting China and about the Chinese Program in his district. So did Scott Embrey, Assistant Superintendent of Beebe schools. Beebe already has a distance learning system in place but plans on adding an on-site teacher to their Chinese program for the 2011-2012 school year. Other attendants include UCA administrators and faculty and staff, principals from school districts. Two students from Qingdao University played Gu-Zheng and Hulusi during the reception.
The art and cultural performance was sponsored by the International Office, Confucius Institute, and the CSSA. In attendance were many educators from across the state, a large group of high school students from Lincoln and Hot Springs, Chinese faculty and students, international students, and other interested UCA faculty and Conway community members, totaling approximately 500 people. Chinese students from CSSA staged eight separate music and vocal performances, ranging from Mozart’s String Quartets in C and G Major, to music from Asian composers performed on the violin, viola and piano. The final performance was a Taiwanese folk song sung by all of UCA’s new international students. Dr. Huimin Qi, Associate Dean of the College of Music from Qingdao University and a visiting fellow at the UCACI, helped the students organize the performance. The attendants said they really enjoyed every moment of the performance.
Everyone was in high spirits at the post-performance banquet held in the Student Center Ballroom. CSSA student ordered different kind of Chinese food from Chinese restaurant in Conway. Both students and faculty were abuzz with excitement from the performances. Several of those in attendance said this year’s celebration was even better than last year’s, citing separation of the music and dinner portions of the event and better overall organization.
The celebration provided a much needed source of entertainment and community for the international students, and gave UCA an excellent opportunity to share a rich cultural experience with the community.