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Confucius Institute Celebrates Worldwide “Confucius Day” with Week-long Series of Events

Buffalo. NY – From September 27 to October 4, the University at Buffalo Confucius Institute (UBCI) held a week-long series of lectures, demonstrations and other activities to celebrate the global commemoration of Confucius’s life and teachings. The theme of the 2017 Confucius Day events was Traditional Chinese Medicine, and topics related to medicine and health were interwoven into many of the activities.

The week began with UBCI’s regular Tai Chi class, held 5:00-6:00 each Wednesday in 145 Student Union. Led by Tai Chi instructor Qiuyu Hu, a graduate student in the Department of Economics, the students practice Yang-style Tai Chi, including movement and breathing techniques.

Professor Yan Liu lectures on the history of Chinese medicine at the Confucius Institute.

Later in the evening of September 27, Yan Liu, assistant professor of History at UB and an expert in the history of Chinese Medicine, presented a lecture at the UB Confucius Institute entitled, “Traditions and Transformations: A Historical Survey of Chinese Medicine.” Professor Liu outlined the development of Chinese medicine over several millennia, explored differences between Chinese and European/American ideas about the body and healing, and discussed recent scientific findings about the benefits of some traditional Chinese medical techniques.

A featured event of the week was the September 30 Confucius Day Gala and presentation of the Confucius Educator Award. For this event, UB faculty and administrators, local school officials, Chinese language teachers and other friends of the Confucius Institute joined together to celebrate UBCI’s many accomplishments.

In his address at the gala, Stephen C. Dunnett, Professor of Education and Vice Provost for International Education, summarized the illustrious history of UB’s involvement in China since 1978 and the excellent partnership UB has maintained over four decades with Capital Normal University (CNU). The Confucius Institute, which benefits from this strong partnership with CNU, is a logical step forward in China-related activity at UB. Dunnett noted that the outstanding partnerships, hard work, and vision of former director Jiyuan Yu culminated in UBCI being named a Confucius Institute of the Year at the 2016 Confucius Institute Global Conference in Kunming, China.

Confucius Educator Award recipient Paul Casseri with Stephen Dunnett, UB Vice Provost for International Education.

Special guest Dr. Herbert K. Lau, a licensed acupuncturist and expert in Chinese herbal medicine, introduced and discussed the benefits of traditional Chinese medicine as part of the formal program, and demonstrated acupuncture and cupping techniques during the informal gathering. Dr. Lau subsequently gave a full lecture at the Confucius Institute on October 18 entitled, “Chinese Medicine: An Ancient Art for Today’s Healthcare World.”

Also at the Confucius Day ceremony, UBCI presented the 2017 Confucius Educator Award to Mr. Paul Casseri, Superintendent of the Lewiston Porter Central School District, for his pioneering work developing collaborative projects that benefit Chinese and American students. In particular, the Confucius Institute acknowledged Mr. Casseri’s support for Chinese language teaching in the Lewiston Porter district, which has three Confucius Institute teachers, his initiative to bring Chinese international students to Lewiston Porter, and a recent joint-venture with Tianjin No. 2 High School to prepare students for study in America.

Confucius Day gala attendees enjoy knot-tying and other Chinese crafts.

Attendees at the Confucius Day Gala also enjoyed traditional Chinese crafts, a tea ceremony, mooncakes, an erhu performance by Wei (Shirley) Wang, Confucius Institute guest teacher at Elmwood Franklin School, and a Tai Chi performance by Shuping (Rachel) Song, Confucius Institute guest teacher at Lewiston Porter.

The commemoration of Confucius Day quickly merged into the traditional Mid-autumn Festival (aka Moon Festival) celebration. On September 30, following the Confucius Day Gala, the Confucius Institute and Chinese Students and Scholars Association co-sponsored a performing arts festival for UB students in the Student Union Theater. The performances featured, among other acts, a vocal performance by Xi Nie, Confucius Institute guest teacher at Nardin Academy in Buffalo.

The following day, Confucius Institute staff and guest teachers participated in two separate Mid-autumn Festival events. The first, organized by the Chinese Club of Western New York, involved demonstrations, performances, and Chinese cultural displays at Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church in the Buffalo suburb of Clarence, NY.

UBCI table at Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls.

Also that afternoon, UBCI, together with Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, organized a special activity to demonstrate and promote Chinese culture to local and international shoppers. The Confucius Institute organized a Chinese culture display table in the center of the shopping mall, where families had a good time practicing brush painting, calligraphy, Chinese knot tying, paper cutting and Chinese yo-yo (kongzhu).

Finally, on October 4, the actual day of the Mid-autumn Festival, the Confucius Institute’s Chinese Language Club and the Chinese Language Program in the Department of Linguistics jointly presented a special lecture about the tradition of the Mid-autumn Festival, followed by a calligraphy demonstration by local calligraphy expert Theresa Lee. After practicing calligraphy, many students returned to Tai Chi class in an adjacent room to finish off the week-long celebration in the same way they started, by practicing the traditional Chinese mind/body exercise of Tai Chi.