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Welcome Message from UBCI Director Zhiqiang Liu

September 1, 2020

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As we set out on this most-unusual 2020-21 academic year, I want to update you on some new developments at the University at Buffalo Confucius Institute (UBCI).

We welcome Ruiyao (Grace) Wang as our interim associate director from Capital Normal University (CNU), UB’s Confucius Institute partner in Beijing. Professor Wang comes to UB from the College English Department at CNU, where she twice earned the Outstanding Teacher Award. Since January 2018, Professor Wang has served as a visiting professor teaching credit-bearing courses in the UB Chinese Language Program in the Department of Linguistics.

Professor Wang succeeds Huadong (Mark) Yin, who just completed a three-year term as associate director. During his tenure, Professor Yin worked tirelessly to expand opportunities for UB students in China, organize performance tours and other outreach activities, and provide reliable support for many UBCI activities. Professor Yin will be remembered for his incredible work ethic, excellent teaching, perceptiveness, and compassion. We wish him all the best as he returns to CNU and his family in Beijing.

We also welcome UBCI-sponsored visiting scholar Professor Eric Feng of Tsinghua University. He teaches two courses remotely this fall for the Department of Art: Basic Painting and Introduction to Chinese Art. We are sure that UB students can learn a great deal from this young and rising star in the field of Chinese art.

Several UBCI-sponsored academic conferences and lectures have been rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, we are still accepting proposals for the lecture series on China-related topics. The presentations can be associated with a scheduled course, part of a department lecture/seminar series, or a conference/symposium of interest to a department or the general public. UBCI can cover travel, accommodations and a modest honorarium for the invited speaker. For online events, besides an honorarium UBCI can cover allowable costs incurred by the department and the speaker.

This fall, UBCI has joined with Confucius Institutes in Ohio, Michigan, and Minnesota to form the Great Lakes Chinese Consortium. The Consortium is developing a weekly lunchtime presentation series (Thursdays at 12:30), a Distinguished Lecture Series, and teacher workshops. We are excited about upcoming presentations on Chinese film, language acquisition, festivals, literature, and American expats in China. If you would like to give a lecture or recommend a colleague to present, we welcome your ideas.

UBCI’s community Chinese language classes also will continue online until the pandemic eases. UBCI Chinese classes are designed for adult learners at the beginner through intermediate-advanced levels, with high school students welcome. We are delighted that some UB faculty are enrolled in the classes.

For those of you looking for language apps, news and analysis about China, and other resources, we encourage you to check out the resource sections of the UBCI website, which has been significantly updated this summer to provide more tools for online learning about Chinese language and culture. UBCI also has a small collection of books and videos. You are welcome to stop by and check them out.

Finally, our office generally will be staffed this semester Monday-Friday, 8:30am – 5:00 pm. Since we will have limited staff on-site, we suggest that you call or email in advance to make sure someone will be here to help you when you arrive (716.645.9090 /

We wish you all the best as you embark on this new and challenging year.

Zhiqiang Liu