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Posted Sep 19, 2012, 4:38 pm
From cuisine to medicine to the martial arts, the first Chinese Culture Festival at the University of Arizona will include a variety of events beginning Saturday, running through Sept. 30.
The week-long event, the first Chinese festival presented by the Confucius Institute at UA, will be free to the public on campus and other locations throughout the city.
Organizers hope the festival will bridge Chinese and American cultures, said Zhao Chen, the institute's co-director.
“The Confucius Institute is committed to serving the Tucson community’s interest in learning about Chinese language and culture,” Zhao said in a press release. “The festival programs are specifically designed for health promotion, cultural enrichment and entertainment for all ages.”
Gerri Kelly, a representative of the institute, hopes it will become an annual event.
"We have guest speakers from China and other Confucius Institutes, and people who visit regularly," Zhao said.
The Confucius Institute works with other universities and organizations to educate people about Chinese culture. Since 2008, the institute has provided training to teachers on Chinese culture and language.
“It is well known that people around the world are interested in the long history, extraordinary culture and recent economic advancement in China,” Zhao said
"Right now we're seeing an increase of Chinese studies in high schools," Zhao said. "Those students will be coming into the university. There are 1,000 (students) registering to Chinese language classes. Tai-chi has been very popular in the United States."
More than 40 million people outside of China study the language, Zhao said in the release.
The institute focuses on the cultural aspect of the relationship between the United States and China, she said.
"We're trying to bring in the Chinese culture to local communities, " she said.