Renewing Six Arts Concept in Exploring New Thoughts on New Silk Road and Sharing Experience to Promote Development of Confucius Institutes
——Successful Hosting of the North American Confucius Institute Western Regional Conference at SDSU

[Source]    Confucius Institute at San Diego State University [Time]    2018-05-03 13:29:37 

On April 14th, 2018 local time, the North American Confucius Institute Western Regional Conference was held at San Diego State University by the Confucius Institute at the same (hereinafter referred to as “CISDSU”). 24 Chinese and local directors from 17 Confucius Institutes and representatives of the political, academic and overseas Chinese communities in San Diego gathered together under the theme of “New Thoughts on the New Silk Road”.

At the opening ceremony, Sally Roush, President of San Diego State University, delivered a welcome speech. She stated that with the university being ranked 8th in the United States for international students, CISDSU has played a very important role in promoting the US-China cultural exchanges and the education globalization of the university.

Sally Roush delivering a welcome speech

Salvatore Giametta, Chief of Staff to San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts, said in his speech that the Confucius Institute has enhanced cultural exchanges and communication. He expressed that the San Diego County Board of Supervisors honored CISDSU and all other Confucius Institutes for the valuable language and cultural and educational resources they have provided, and declared the 14th day of April 2018 as the “North American Confucius Institute Western Regional Conference Day”. Then, on behalf of Ron Roberts, he presented a certificate of appreciation to the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors presenting the certificate of appreciation to CISDSU

Michael McQuary, board trustee of San Diego Unified School District, stated in his speech that the Chinese language programs and Chinese cultural resources initiated by Confucius Institutes for the school district were critical not only to the development of the multilingual teaching system of the district, but also to the cultural understanding and engagement of students.

Michael McQuary delivering a speech

Brian Thurman, Principal of Riverview International Academy, elaborated on the contributions made by the teachers of the Confucius Institute in promoting bilingual teaching and in cultivating students as global citizens by citing some real stories of students. He emphasized that a closer cooperation between local schools and Confucius Institutes would be a must.

Brian Thurman delivering a speech

During the Directors’ Forum in the morning of that day, Susan Jain, Director of Confucius Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, Xie Jiaxin, Director of Confucius Institute at San Francisco State University, and Annie Ping Zeng, Director of Confucius Institute at the University of Alaska Anchorage, introduced the programs of their respective Confucius Institutes in the local areas.

Director Xie Jiaxin of Confucius Institute at San Francisco State University delivering a speech

SDSU Provost Emerita Dr. Nancy Marlin, who presided over the forum, concluded that Confucius Institutes around the globe, as professional overseas Chinese language education organizations, should share experience so as to promote the teaching of Chinese language and culture.

A Group Photo

The Confucian philosophy of “Six Arts” —— rites, music, archery, chariot-driving, calligraphy, and mathematics —— was the focus of the new thoughts explored in this conference. Integrating the Six Arts into the teaching of Chinese language and culture was the topic of interest for many Confucius Institutes.

To showcase the achievements of the “Six Arts” program, CISDSU carefully prepared the “East Meets West” luncheon for the guests, which was hosted by Friends of the Confucius Institute. From devil eggs to tea eggs, cold noodles to spaghetti, and American hot wings to Chinese yam salad, the fusion of eastern and western cultures was ubiquitous.

The “East Meets West” luncheon

In the afternoon, over 30 students and teachers from the Confucius Classroom brought to the audience the Six Arts Performance: Chinese tea ceremony (rites, music), Chinese ballet Butterfly Lovers (chariot-driving), one-stroke painting of dog (calligraphy), Miao minority dance (chariot-driving), Taichi Fan (archery), the magic of abacus (mathematics) and Chinese sign language song A Thankful Heart (rites, music). These programs were a visual feast for the audience and demonstrated the profound influence of the new concept in local areas.

Students performing “Chinese tea ceremony”

Guests and performers

Other speakers who shared experience included Tom Hom, first Chinese American City Council Member in San Diego, Ron Cho, President of Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA) -San Diego Chapter, and Johnny Lee, Board Secretary and Board of Directors of APAPA-East Bay Chapter. They elaborated on the contributions made by the Confucius Institute to San Diego’s culture and education industry from the perspective of the Asian-American history and the current political environment.

Ms. Zhang Jing and Ms. Liu Leixia, representatives of the faculty of CISDSU, shared their teaching experience as a government-sponsored Chinese teacher in the Confucius Classroom in their speeches.

The hearing-impaired family, the Carters used sign language to tell the story of the two children, Kamila Carter and Tod Carter learning languages and sign languages of different countries.

Local family sharing the story of Chinese learning of their children using sign language

Christopher Adamson, a vision-impaired boy who excels in abacus, shared his experience of learning the mental abacus calculation from China through his own hands and spoke about his journey to the winner’s podium in an international abacus competition.

Chinese Bridge champion Leah Markworth, as the student representative, shared her unforgettable experience in China in fluent Chinese.

The closing ceremony was hosted by CISDSU Managing Director, Dr. Lilly Cheng and Co-Director, Professor Zhang Cunlu. Scholars from Stanford University, local directors from Confucius Institute at Clark County School District and Confucius Institute at Southern Utah University, and Chinese directors from Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona also made concluding statements.

Lilly Cheng making concluding remarks

The Six Arts Concept advocated by Confucius, the founder of Chinese education, is an indispensable part of the Confucius Institute’s exploration of the “New Thoughts on the New Silk Road”. In the era of the New Silk Road, CISDSU has made great progress in promoting Chinese language teaching by integrating the “Six Arts” culture, which provides valuable experience for many other Confucius Institutes.

Story by Li Chudan