CICO Spring Student Achievement Online Exhibition

On May 14, 2020, CICO successfully administered an online student achievement exhibition over ZOOM, in which 11 students from Binghamton University and one local High School student demonstrated their progress this semester in Chinese language, calligraphy and Beijing opera. Many Confucius Institute directors and teachers from across the country were in attendance as well, representing the University of Southern Maine, the University of New Hampshire, Western Michigan University, Baruch College Confucius Institute of Global Finance (CUNY), New Jersey City University, South Carolina’s Presbyterian College, Cleveland State University, Missouri’s Webster University, California’s Confucius Institute of San Diego, Washington State University, Alabama A&M University, Alabama’s Troy University, and the University of Central Arkansas. There were also representatives from Confucius Institutes around the world, such as Brazil, Peru and Luxembourg, and we were pleased to welcome Ms. Zhaoxi Meng of the United Nations Development Program as well.

Guests from other Universities

Since the founding of the Confucius Institute of Chinese Opera in 2009, the Spring Student Achievement Exhibition has been an ongoing tradition for students involved in Chinese language and culture at Binghamton University. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students and faculty were forced to transition to remote instruction beginning March 16. Thus, we had no choice but to hold this year’s exhibition online. Nevertheless, it proved to be an exciting opportunity for students to demonstrate their achievements in Mandarin language, calligraphy, and Beijing Opera. Despite some students only having one year of Mandarin language experience, all were able to introduce themselves in a proficient manner. Some utilized PowerPoint to narrate a story they wrote in Mandarin, while others utilized their calligraphic prowess to write a “farewell” or even create their own personal seal. Additionally, some performed excellent renditions of “Ode to the Pear Blossom” and “Cutting the Beautiful Table” after only one semester of exposure to Chinese opera. A local High School student, Avi Strohmeyer, displayed incredibly articulate pronunciation and vocalization as well as an impressive grasp of Mandarin idioms. This comes as no surprise, as she has been tutored by Binghamton University’s very own Professor Hong Zhang. As Avi prepares to graduate from high school next year, she hopes to attend Binghamton University to continue her pursuit of Chinese language and culture. Furthermore, attendees enjoyed an excellent bamboo flute performance by one of our volunteer teachers from NACTA (National Academy of Chinese Theater Arts in Beijing, China), Mr. Heran Cao. Even the Assistant to the Director in CICO, Jordan Loretz, performed an original song outlined his experience studying abroad in Nanjing, China.

Calligraphy of Cassandra Squitieri

The event was hosted by CICO Chinese Director, Dr. Xiaoning Wang, and the attendees enjoyed speeches from CICO Director Zu-yan Chen, BU Professors Hong Zhang and Chengqing Song, Baruch College Chinese Director and Professor, Xinli Chen, as well as Webster University Confucius Institute Chinese Director, Jiangqiang Liu.

This event signifies not only the successes of our students, but also the dedication of our teachers—especially those dispatched from China. Although the pandemic has made it difficult for them to return home, they have been steadfast in their mission to spread Chinese language and culture and insure continued enthusiasm among their students.

CICO held several activities to celebrate the Chinese New Year

In the Chinese New Year of 2020, CICO held several different types of activities to celebrate these traditional Chinese big events.

On January 24, the day of Chinese New Year Eve, A rubbing exhibition, named “Snowflakes between Gauze: Rubbings from Han Dynasty Tombs”, was held at Binghamton Arts Museum. This exhibition was united organized by CICO, Binghamton Arts Museum, and Hangzhou Normal University. On the opening ceremony, the Dean of AAAS of BU, John Chaffee, the Dean of Asia Research Department Prof. Robert Ku and CICO Director Prof. Zu-yan Chen attended. There are almost two hundred rubbing works, which were produced and collected by Mr. Youchang Bu, who is the expert of the Han Dynasty Rubbing research at Hangzhou Normal University. These works demonstrated the extreme modeling and stone curving arts of Rubbing from the Han Dynasty two thousand years ago.

On January 25, the first day of Chinese Lunar New year, at the Huntsville Rocket Museum, which is famous for the Mashall Plan, a Chinese New Year experient activity was held. The CI at Alabama A&M University invited CICO to demonstrate the Beijing Opera dress and make-up. Meanwhile, teachers of CICO help the teenage visitors outlined the face and lead them to experience Chinese Beijing opera culture. That night, CICO gave a splendid performance which included the Beijing Opera and other Chinese Traditional Arts to the local audiences. Dr. Andrew Hugine, the President of Alabama A&M University, gave a short speech before the performance. The guests were present at the celebration, including Yong Wang, the Director of the CI at Alabama A&M University, Yu Huiqun, the Chinese Director of CI at Alabama A&M University, Xiaoning Wang, the Chinese Director of CICO and Lin Qing, the president of the Chinese Association of Huntsville. After the performance, Dr. Andrew Hugine handseled a Thankful Plaque to CICO as a gift.

CICO Students receive Confucius Institute Scholarships and Fellowship to study in China!

Recently, two BU students have been awarded the Confucius Institute scholarship and one graduate student has been awarded the Confucius Institute fellowship to study in China during the 2018-2019 academic year!

Mr. Travis Shutz, a History PhD candidate, received a fellowship that supports a one-year research project at Fudan University in Shanghai. His dissertation will examine the impact of sixteenth-century maritime violence at the local level in coastal Fujian and Guangdong provinces.

Two other BU students will study Chinese language and culture for one year on the Confucius Institute scholarship. Ms. Stephanie Hosier, a linguistics major with a Chinese minor, will also attend Fudan University while Mr. Joshua Mattei-Lownes, who holds an MA in Asian and Asian American Studies, will study at Beijing Normal University. Both students graduated from Binghamton University this past May.

CICO Performance Troupe Debuts "Three Tours" 三巡 Circuit

This semester, for the first time, our very own CICO performance group was appointed as one of Hanban's tour groups, the first group to ever be appointed outside of China for this task. CICO performed for three large school districts: Houston Independent School District, East Central Ohio Educational Service Center's affiliated schools, and the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada. With 32,000 students and 1,600 Chinese language students, CCSD is one of the largest public school districts in the nation. Our performance group was composed of only 9 performers - 3 BU faculty and staff, and 6 NACTA teachers.

The program featured Beijing Opera excerpts, vocal folk songs, and traditional Chinese instrumental music. Combined with an exhibit on Beijing Opera costumes and a lecture on Beijing Opera costumes and basic performance techniques, the tour was a great success!

Binghamton University students compete in US Eastern Regional Chinese Bridge Language and Culture Competition

On April 21st, two Binghamton University students participated in the US Eastern Regional Chinese Bridge Language and Culture competition in Boston. Students from 10 states, from Maine to North Carolina, including schools such as Harvard and MIT, to name a couple, had fierce competition. In the end, our two BU students received excellent awards: Arthur Kraus won second place in the junior division, and Hye In Lee won first place in the senior group! CICO teachers have been coaching them on both their speech and Chinese cultural talent throughout the academic year. We are very proud of this result; since 2014, CICO students have now won first place in the senior division four times!

Assistant to the Director Carrie Feyerabend receives Professional Staff Senate Distinguished Service Award

On April 25th, Assistant to the Director Ms. Carrie Feyerabend received the Professional Staff Senate Distinguished Service Award after only three years in this position. She was one of two recipients from a terrific pool of nominees. We at CICO are all very proud of Carrie's wonderful contributions to CICO and Binghamton University!