UA’s China Week acclaimed as national model


The University of Akron's China Week captured national attention when it was recognized for its best practices at the national meeting of Confucius Institutes in North America, held at Western Kentucky University Sept. 27.

Mark Lee Pringle and members of the Coiling Dragon Chinese Kung Fu Studio will perform a lion dance at China Week’s community kickoff celebration Sunday, Oct. 6, at Thomas Hall.

UA's China Week was commended for its multidisciplinary programming. The annual weeklong event includes a majority of the University's colleges, which provide speakers on Chinese topics relevant to their respective academic disciplines. With an increasing enrollment of students from China, currently 347 (up 27 from last year), and American students who study in China, UA is committed to enriching Chinese culture and language education campus-wide as part of its larger strategic plan of globalization of the campus community. China Week provides exceptional opportunities.

"The speakers and performances are embedded in the curriculum, so China Week coordination begins a year in advance with each college and faculty member planning for topics and speakers that will extend their curriculum," says Holly Harris Bane, associate vice president for strategic initiatives and partnerships and director of the Confucius Institute.

UA's China Week a 'best practice'

At the North American meeting for Confucius Institutes, Harris Bane was invited by the Chinese Ministry of Education to participate in the meeting's closing ceremonies, providing remarks on UA's China Week, which was highlighted as a best practice for all Confucius Institutes in 117 countries. More than 100 Confucius Institutes are in the United States. Confucius Institutes are hosted by a Chinese university and an American university affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education. Confucius Institutes provide Chinese language instruction and cultural teaching resources and services worldwide. Harris Bane spoke before an audience of Confucius Institute directors and university presidents and provosts from North America, including the senior leadership of the Chinese Ministry of Education.

Full China Week calendar

A complete list of events, all free to the public, and an event parking pass are on the China Week site.

China Week events

This month, China Week at UA enters its fifth year, beginning Sunday, Oct. 6, with a free community celebration "Destination China: A Taste of Autumn in Kaifeng," from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Stage Door in E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall.

Performers, including lion dancer Mark Pringle, the Cleveland Chinese Music Ensemble and others, will present dance, music, poetry readings and martial arts at the chrysanthemum-themed festival. Festival goers can try their hands at Chinese calligraphy and practice t’ai chi exercises.

The week continues with outdoor t’ai chi from 8 to 10 a.m. mornings at Buchtel Common, calligraphy and kite flying demonstrations, and lectures on topics ranging from language and culture to job pathways, the "First Globals" generation and Chinese traditional medicine.

China Week event goers can practice calligraphy at the community kickoff celebration Sunday, Oct. 6, at Thomas Hall and Tuesday, Oct. 8, from 11 to 11:50 a.m. in Student Union 312.

The weeklong event ends with a traditional Chinese dumpling party on Friday, Oct. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Chapel, 135 Fir Hill.

Some China Week highlights:

Evening Keynote: "Living and Laughing by the Chopsticks-Fork Principle," by Cathy Bao Bean, Monday, Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m., Student Union Theatre

Author of "The Chopsticks-Fork Principle, A Memoir and Manual," Bao Bean is a daughter, mother, wife, friend, sister, aerobics instructor, business manager and board member of the Claremont Graduate University School of the Arts and Humanities, the New Jersey Council for the Humanities and Society for Values in Higher Education. In a previous incarnation, she was a philosophy teacher, cook, student, carpool driver as well as founding member of the Ridge and Valley Conservancy. In the process, she has been learning how to make the "foreign" more familiar and the ordinary and extraordinary into each other.

"The Chopsticks-Fork Principle, A Memoir and Manual" will be available for sale during the evening.

Evening Keynote: "China’s Economic Slowdown: Opportunities and Influences from China's Market Maturity" by Bradley Feuling, CEO, Kong and Allan Consulting Wednesday, Oct. 9, 8:10 to 9:30 p.m., College of Business Administration, Room 121

After staging unprecedented fast-paced growth over the past 30 years, China's economy is becoming more mature and the growth has slowed. Feuling will discuss implications of the recent slowdown in the Chinese economy, key influences behind it and expectations for the future economic growth of China.

Evening Keynote: "Ready Set Go Global! Unleashing the Power of “First Globals” Generation" by John Zogby, founder of the Zogby Poll and Zogby Cos., Thursday, Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m., Student Union Ballroom.

Internationally respected pollster, opinion leader and best-selling author, Zogby is a senior adviser at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He also serves as a commissioner for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Commission on Smart Power and is a senior fellow of the Catholic University Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies. As chair of Sudan Sunrise, Zogby works to continue the vision of the late Sudanese NBA player Manute Bol to bring peace to Sudan through education.

Zogby’s book, "First Globals," will be available for sale during the evening.

Media contact: Denise Henry, 330-972-6477 or