Confucius Institute brings Chinese Culture to the Brazos Valley Worldfest

Date: 11/8/2007

The Confucius Institute at Texas A&M University helped to bring Chinese culture alive to participants in the Brazos Valley Worldfest on Saturday, November 17, 2007 in downtown Bryan. The worldfest was the culmination of the 2007 International Education Week and a year of planning by a community-wide group of volunteers under the leadership of the International Programs Office at Texas A&M University.

“Our participation in Brazos Valley Worldfest clearly demonstrates the Confucius Institute’s commitment to Bryan/College Station and to helping the residents of the Brazos Valley to better understand China and Chinese culture," said Randy Kluver, Director of the Confucius Institute. "

More than 3000 attendees visited cultural displays from more than thirty countries and enjoyed entertainment from around the world. The Confucius Institute Booth focused on the Chinese language and introduced the Beijing Olympics, by showcased two giant inflatable “Fuwa”, the 2008 Beijing Olympic mascots. Volunteers from the Confucius Institute and the Chinese Students and Scholars Association introduced the Fuwa to the children at the festival by donning the constumes and walking around the entire Worldfest location. Volunteers from the Confucius Institute and from student groups painted Chinese characters on children’s faces, taught children the Chinese zodiac, helped children to write their own Chinese zodiac birth signs, and demonstrated paper cutting and knot tying. Many children and their families participated in the events at the Confucius Institute booth.
In addition, the Confucius Institute participated as a “World Sponsor” of the Worldfest, and underwrote a performance of a traditional Lion Dance on the main stage of the festival.

“The sponsorship of the Confucius Institute was invaluable,” said Kim Fox, the coordinator of the Worldfest. “It allowed us to showcase a traditional Chinese custom and art form to a very large number of participants. It also allowed residents of the Brazos Valley to find out about the new Confucius Institute, and the resources that are available.” “Many children loved the story telling and the inflatable Olympics characters,” said one grandmother, who attended the festival with her family. The day started with the drums of Lee’s Golden Dragon Lion Dancers and ended with the Kaminari Taiko Japanese Drum Group. “We began the day with Chinese culture,” Fox said. “Every seat of the Palace Theater was full with people standing all around the entrance and sides of the theater to see the first event of the day. We feel the event was a great success.” Kluver said the planners had learned a lot from this first time event and are already making plans for next year. “We plan to continue to use the worldfest to introduce the citizens of our region to the Confucius Institute, and to make the most of this opportunity to help Americans learn more about Chinese culture.”

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