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The Confucius Institute and the Chinese Students & Scholars Association wins first place at Worldfes

- Released on Nov 01, 2008

College Station - The Confucius Institute at Texas A&M University brought Chinese culture alive to participants in the Brazos Valley Worldfest on Saturday, November 22, 2008 in historic downtown Bryan. The Confucius Institute and the Chinese Students & Scholars Association won the first place award for interactive cultural displays out of the 60 competing groups. Worldfest, under the leadership of the International Programs Office at Texas A&M University, is the premier event celebrating international cultural awareness in the Brazos Valley. “We are very honored to receive this award,” said Dr. Randy Kluver, director of the Confucius Institute at Texas A&M University. “Our participation in Brazos Valley Worldfest clearly demonstrates the Confucius Institute’s commitment to Bryan/College Station and to helping the residents of the Brazos Valley to better understand China and Chinese culture." More than 6000 people visited the Worldfest, which boasted presentations from120 countries. Cultural display booths, demonstrations, music, cuisine and performances flooded the streets of downtown Bryan. The Confucius Institute and the Chinese Students & Scholars Association co-hosted a highly interactive and demonstrative culture display booth, demonstrating a great collection of Chinese arts and crafts, photos, lanterns, silk drapes, calligraphy works and brush paintings, the 40-foot-long booth was turned into a river flowing with 5,000 years of Chinese culture and history. The display was organized in five subjects, Modern and Historic China, Modern and Traditional Chinese Wedding, Chinese Ethnic Minorities, Chinese Language and Calligraphy, and Chinese arts and Beijing Opera. Each of the subjects corresponded to posters, crafts exhibits, performances, and on-site demonstrations and hands-on experience. The booth drew over 2,000 children and their families. People waited in line to learn to write the Chinese character of their zodiac animal year, take a seat in the traditional bridal sedan chair, get their face pained in Beijing Opera masks, and have their name written in Chinese calligraphy. Twelve-year-old Rachel blushed with excitement when she received a beautiful picture of red peonies from volunteer water painting artist, A&M graduate student Chunmin Liu. Rachel said she fell in love with Chinese water painting, and learned that peonies, as the Chinese National flower, symbolized prosperity, love and good luck in the Chinese culture. Volunteer students wore costumes of various Chinese ethnic minority groups, walking along the streets and talking with people about China. A&M graduate student Zhi Zhao played Guzheng, a traditional string instrument, attracting a big audience by the booth. Teachers, students and staff from the Confucius Institute, the Chinese Students & Scholars Association, and the China-U.S. Forum at Texas A&M University all volunteered at the booth The Confucius Institute also sponsored a classical Beijing opera musical, the Monkey King, at the Community Stage in downtown Bryan. After their performance, the costumed “Monkey King” and “Princess of the East Ocean” strolled through the streets and stopped to take pictures with people and answer questions about Beijing Opera. Houston resident David Barry said: “I have never seen a real, authentic Beijing Opera. It is just beautiful. It is a life-time experience.” The performers were from the International Center for Beijing Opera, who came from Beijing as part of a performance tour that demonstrated Chinese arts in a number of schools in Bryan, College Station, and Navasota. In addition, the Confucius Institute was a “World Sponsor” of the Worldfest, and underwrote a performance of a traditional Lion Dance on the main stage of the festival. “The sponsorship of the Confucius Institute was invaluable,” said Kim Fox, the coordinator of the Worldfest. “It allowed us to showcase a traditional Chinese custom and art form to a very large number of participants. It also allowed residents of the Brazos Valley to find out about the Confucius Institute, and the resources that are available.” Huan Huang, a Chinese graduate student spoke highly of the China culture display. “Near the end of the event, when I was in a parking lot, a kid was waving to me, and said, “Hi, China! I love China!” That showed what a good job they did!” Huang said.