Working Together in the Face of Hardships
—The 8th Anniversary of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington

[Source]    Confucius Institute of the State of Washington [Time]    2018-05-16 13:36:35 

On April 4th local time, the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington (CIWA) celebrated its 8th anniversary at University of Washington (UW Seattle). More than 100 people from all walks of life attended the event, including Jeffrey Riedinger, Vice Provost for global affairs at the university and American Director of CIWA, Yan Shijing, Vice President of Sichuan University, Yang Jun, Education Counselor of the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco, and Zhou Jun, Chinese Director of CIWA.

The celebration started with the renewal of cooperation agreements between CIWA and four universities in Washington State. Since its official operation in 2010, CIWA has established cooperative ties with many universities in the state, supporting the local universities for Chinese language projects and academic research on China. Since 2015, CIWA has signed official cooperation agreements with its partner universities based on equal negotiation, seeking partnership featured by long-term stability and sustainable development.

At the event, Jeffrey Riedinger, on behalf of CIWA, respectively signed a two-year cooperation agreement with representatives of four universities, namely, Western Washington University, Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, and Pacific Lutheran University.

Jeffrey Riedinger (left) signing a cooperation agreement with representatives of Eastern Washington University

Subsequently, CIWA held a seminar on "learning language and culture and fostering international competitiveness". Timothy Salzman from the UW School of Music, UW alumnus Carol Xie, Paqui Paredes Mendez, Senior Instructor of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at Western Washington University, and Aida Fraser Hammer, Principal at Chief Sealth International High School, all shared their insights from different perspectives, holding in-depth discussions centering on issues including US-China cultural exchanges, the necessity of Chinese learning for American students, and the cultivation and improvement of the cross-cultural global competitiveness of American students.

The seminar site

After the seminar, Yan Shijing and Yang Jun respectively extended warm congratulations to CIWA and praised its excellent achievements during the past 8 years in improving China-US people-to-people and cultural exchanges and friendship through the bridge of Chinese language teaching and Chinese culture sharing.

Yan Shijing communicating with Timothy Salzman

Larry Nyland, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools and member of the CIWA Council, congratulated CIWA on its great success and spoke highly of its outstanding contributions since its establishment to the teaching of Chinese language in Seattle Public Schools and elementary and secondary schools in Washington State, and the educational exchanges between Seattle and its sister city Chongqing, China.

During the celebration, artists from the Seattle Chinese Orchestra performed some classic Chinese folk songs such as “A Moon Night on the Spring River”, “Horse Race”, “The New Song of Herdsmen”, “The Happiness and Dance of the Yao Tribe” and performed with Chinese folk instruments “America the Beautiful”. The artists' wonderful performances led the guests to fully appreciate the artistic appeal of Chinese folk music.

The Seattle Chinese Orchestra performing

The celebration ended in the afternoon with the prize awarding ceremony of the 17th “Chinese Bridge”– Chinese Proficiency Competition for College Students: 2018 Preliminary Contest in the State of Washington. The guests presented prizes to the winners from Central Washington University, Washington State University, University of Puget Sound, and Pacific Lutheran University.

Contestants of the 2018 Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for College Students

CIWA is the only Confucius Institute at state-level in the United States. In the past eight years since its establishment, the two parties have worked closely together to serve the needs of universities, primary and secondary schools in Washington State and all sectors of society, and have devoted themselves to the teaching of Chinese language and the promotion of Chinese culture. Under the guidance of the Confucius Institute Council, with the cooperation between Chinese and foreign directors of CIWA and through the hard work of generations of Chinese teachers, CIWA has now established Chinese teaching partnership with 9 universities including all 6 public comprehensive and research-oriented universities in the State of Washington. CIWA has three affiliated Confucius Classrooms, and cooperates with about 30 primary and secondary schools in 8 school districts in the areas of Chinese language teaching and Chinese cultural promotion, basically establishing a cooperation system of Chinese teaching covering the entire Washington State.