13 February 2010 Chinese New Year – The Spring Festival
The Spring Festival, by its importance, is comparable with the Western Christmas. It is one of the most important Chinese festivals and is celebrated with family and close friends. It is also known as the Chinese New Year, because according to the Chinese lunar calendar, the Spring Festival marks the beginning of the New Year. The Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr organized the festival on 13 February 2010 at the Inner Harbour of Duisburg together with the International Center of Adult Education, the Association of Chinese Students and the Student Union of the University of Duisburg-Essen. Many Chinese from Duisburg and nearby cities and all people of Duisburg who wanted to know more about Chinese culture were invited. About 200 guests came to celebrate the New Year.
On this evening, the Confucius Institute offered a variety of programmes. Interested people could get a first impression of the Chinese language in a trial course and learn some Chinese phrases. In addition, homemade Chinese food and Chinese beer was offered. Anyone who wanted to could watch the New Year's show from the Chinese TV or any of the award-winning documentaries about the Chinese way of life. The Chinese students were particularly pleased to have the opportunity to Karaoke singing of current Chinese pop songs. Many German visitors were interested to see how their name is written in Chinese. The opening ceremony with various musical contributions, including traditional Chinese instruments was very popular. The evening offered the Chinese and the friends of Chinese culture in Duisburg an opportunity for a merry gathering. Prof. Xu Kuanhua, co-director of the Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr, came to a positive conclusion: "2010 is the year of the tiger and it stands for courage, strength and vitality. Although this year begins with cold, because it is snowing heavily outside, inside, the spring has already begun."
28 March to 01 April 2010 Representation of China at the UN Simulation Conference in New York
Every spring, around 6,000 students from around the world have the opportunity to get to know the functioning of the United Nations, to discuss current political issues and reenact the negotiations in UN bodies such as the Security Council at the world's largest Model United Nations conference in New York. This type of simulation give students a better understanding of the functioning of the UN and key international issues. It is organized by a consortium of American universities and is actively promoted by the United Nations. Each student delegation represents a different country. Before the beginning of the conference they submit papers which make clear the official position of the country that are to be discussed during the meeting. Eloquence, fluent English and precise knowledge of the official position of the respective countries are key to a successful performance on this "diplomactic scene".
At the United Nations simulation conference in New York in 2010, students of the University of Duisburg-Essen and Bochum represented the People's Republic of China for the first time. The success of this application was due to the support of the Institute of Political Science, the Institute of East Asian Studies and the Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr (all University Duisburg.Essen) and the DuEMUN eV. The study tour was funded by the University of Duisburg-Essen, the Ruhr-University Bochum, the Robert Bosch Foundation, the University of Duisburg Society and the Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr.
To represent China at the Model United Nations was without doubt a special challenge, because of the fact that the country is a member in the Security Council and veto power which makes it one of the major players in the UN. To prepare for the simulation, the 31 students of the delegation participated in a seminar on the UN system at the University of Duisburg-Essen. An important part of the extensive preparation was an introduction to China's foreign policy. Parts of this introduction were visits to the Permanent Mission of China in New York and the Chinese Embassy in Berlin under the guidance of Dr. Anja Senz of the Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr. H.E. WU Hongbo, Ambassador of the Republic of China in Berlin, along with his staff had spent the whole afternoon on 5 March 2010 to answer all the questions of the students and to explain in detail the diplomatic position of China. It was about a broad range of topics, from China's position on nuclear proliferation to climate change, the fight against international terrorism to the Millennium Development Goals and children's rights. The day culminated with a reception at the embassy, which allowed the students to further discussions with various diplomats in a relaxed atmosphere.
At the UN simulation in New York, the student delegation represented China so well that they received two awards. The award ceremony was held in the main building of the UN, in the hall of the General Assembly.
Dr. Anja Senz summarized: "UN simulations are an excellent way for students to get a hands-on impression of diplomatic negotiations, the formation of alliances and relevant issues in international politics. The support of the Chinese Embassy was extremely helpful and an important experience for the students."
01 March to 01 April 2010 Photographic Competition "Wuhan – Duisburg"
The Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr cooperates with the Community College of Duisburg on a regular basis to organize a "Chinese Information Day" for anyone interested. The most recent “Chinese Information Day” was on 10 September 2011. About 50 participants came. In a Chinese introduction course the participants learned the basic structure of the Chinese language. They also had the opportunity to test whether or how to learn Chinese. Later, the Kung-Fu World Champion Kai Hoffmann presented spectacular fighting techniques. Additionally an exhibition on China's current social, economic and environmental challenges provided an insight into the living and working conditions in China today.
23 April 2010 San Chuan in concert
On 23 April 2010 the three musicians of "San Chuan" played in an event organized by the Confucius Institute called "Culture and sounds: sound bites from today's China" in the Tec Tower Duisburg. San Chuan, which literally means "three rivers", consists of the young musicians Wang Yao, Sang Ka and Lui Yu. They are graduates of the prestigious Chinese Academy of Music in Beijing. They play on a traditional Chinese zither, the "Guzheng", which is among the most popular Chinese instruments. In April they were on tour in Germany and were guests of the Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr. Robert Zollitsch, composer and producer of the Trio San Chuan, started the musical evening by saying: "China is more than today's media coverage. The music will show us another side of this beautiful country. And it will show that even in modern times tradition has a place."
In the next concert, the guzheng trio impressively combined the art of traditional plucking with musical experimentation and gave the enthusiastic audience an inspiring audio experience. With great virtuosity and musical sensitivity the three musicians contradicted "China clichés", because their music is different: it swings, it is catchy but not superficial, and the combination of three zithers is extremely rare. But thanks to sophisticated arrangements that changes between traditional songs and new compositions it is very successful.
12 April to 15 May 2010 Calligraphy Exhibition "Spring Awakening"
For now 25 years the children’s and youngsters’ Library of the city of Wuhan and twelve other public libraries in the region Wuhan organize a Calligraphy and Painting competition for children and adolescents between the ages of four to 16 years. The aim is to assist children from the elementary and middle schools developing their hobbies and creativity. Already more than 200,000 children have participated in these annual competitions. Every spring a pre-selection is held to which the children may register. A jury consisting of painters, calligraphers and educators then decide finalists and which works will be awarded at the end.
From 12 April to 15 May 2010, 60 awarded works, 40 pictures and 20 calligraphies of the competition were exhibited in the city of Duisburg library for the first time. The exhibition showed the world of the children of Wuhan, the way they grasp, understand and feel things. Their paintings are imaginative and colorful and the calligraphic works are made in different styles and their design is quite remarkable. For the purpose of bringing youngsters of Duisburg close to the world of children and youngsters of Wuhan, the Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr organized exhibition tours in April and May with the assistance of the city library and offered Calligraphy workshops for school classes.
29 June 2010 NRW Creative Competition for Chinese language: Workshop for the winners
On 29 June 2010 members of the Chinese course of the High school called Realschule Burbach visited the Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr. The students had won the North Rhine-Westphalian competition for Chinese language and where therefore allowed to participate in an exclusive China-Workshop at the Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr. They won against 250 other competitors in performing Chinese rhymes, songs, poems or plays. Not only the pronunciation but also the creativity of the students was important.
At the beginning, Prof. Xu Kuanhua, Co-Director of the Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr, gave the students an introduction in the characteristics of China and its culture. He praised them for their successful participation in the competition: "Chinese is a difficult language, it's great that you have learned so much already and that you could win the first place in the competition." In the Chinese lessons the students practiced Chinese pronunciation with Ms. Tang. Then, Prof. Ran performed a Taijiquan demonstration and invited the students to participate. "Taiji is not as easy as it looks," said one participant, as she tried the Chinese Shadowboxing with other students. At the end of the workshop Chinese food was offered. "I am happy that we won the competition and therefore could participate in the workshop today. It was great to learn a lot about China and to have so much fun. Now we ourselves can show something to new participants of the Chinese course", the students said with delight.
18 July 2010 European Capital of Culture: RUHR2010 "A40 Still-Leben Ruhrschnellweg" - We took part!
A major event in the cultural capital "Ruhr 2010" was the full closure of the A40 motorway - the traffic-wise most important motorway of the Ruhr – to 60 kilometers between Dortmund and Duisburg on 18 July 2010. Where otherwise huge traffic can be seen on a daily basis, more than three million people from the Ruhr region had a happy day at the "A40 Still-Leben Ruhrschnellweg". The Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr also took part in the longest street culture festival in the world. At the intersection “Kaiserberg”, in block 10, at kilometer 43.3, the members of the Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr presented examples of Chinese culture in practice. Chinese calligraphy, paper cutting and "shadow boxing" (Taijiquan) –skills that belong to the regular courses offered by the Institute - received great interest from visitors. Many visitors were happy to taste Chinese sweets and to get small Chinese paper cuttings or calligraphy. The co-director of the Confucius Institute, Prof. Xu Kuanhua, personally made these calligraphies. The visitors could choose a beautiful meaning which he then wrote in Chinese characters. The Taijiquan demonstrations by Prof. Ran accompanied by Chinese music found many enthusiastic spectators. This day was a beautiful and extraordinary event for all members of the Institute. The Confucius Institute contributed not only to one of the highlights of the RUHR.2010, but also to international understanding.
19 to 22 July 2010 Summer School for East Asian Studies
In 2010, the Duisburg "Summer School" was titled "Asia in a different light." This format was organized for pupils of secondary schools. It was jointly organized by the Institute of East Asian Studies, the Association of Alumni and Friends of the Duisburg East Asian Studies Association and the Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr with the aim to present the study of East Asia to interested future students and giving them support for the decision and selection of their study areas. The participants, who came from all over Germany for this "summer school" were also given the opportunity to talk with graduates about the course and to learn about future opportunities.
For five days, the students had the opportunity to learn more about East Asia, because their perspective was changed under the theme "Asia with different eyes". Starting from the idea "What if you grew up in Asia?" the life of people in China, their education, culture and the economic, political and social environment were presented. The Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr offered lectures, an introduction into Chinese language and a workshop on Chinese shadow boxing (Taijiquan).
"The characters and the pronunciation in Chinese are quite different from the languages that we have learned in school," one participant said, "but it is an exciting challenge. Maybe I' will be studying the new Bachelor East Asian Studies soon at the university." The participants agreed on one thing: Requirements for this course are very high, but the range of opportunities that one has after successful study is also high.
24 September 2010 Night of Academic Culture
On Friday the 24 September 2010, the Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr got involved with two different program points at the so called “night of academic culture” of the University of Duisburg-Essen:
In the B-wing of the Duisburg Campus, Prof. Dr. Thomas Heberer held a lecture on "Rural Transformation in China". He was talking to an interested audience about the comprehensive reconstruction of rural areas in China and the changes in the rural and agricultural structures. After his lecture, he discussed the consequences of this development with the participants.
Furthermore, visitors of the Academic night were able to learn about various offers of the Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr. To bring the courses closer to those interested, at 20.30h, Prof. Ran and Ms. Tang of the Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr gave an introduction to Taijiquan, which in Germany is often referred to as "Chinese shadow boxing". The audience was so enthusiastic that some immediately joined Prof. Ran. A good relationship developed, which ended in an informal discussion about the different styles of Taiji. In this way, interested people could find an access to Taiji and experienced performers a new place of exchange. Even the technology-oriented audience of "Engineer's Night" which was held at the same time could be persuaded by the crowd-pulling performance.