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Week-long festival to showcase Chinese culture

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 

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"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.

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Confucius Institute

Schedule of events


  • Sept. 22, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • DeMeester Performance Center in Reid Park on 900 S. Randolph Way
  •  Learn about the Chinese Martial Arts and Tai Chi along with traditional Chinese medicine and healthy cuisine. 
  •  Lecturers: Junmin Zhao and Junjie Feng, leading performers at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Martial arts

  •  Sept. 23, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. 
  • South Ballroom on the third floor at the UA Student Union, on 1303 E. University Blvd. 
  •  The lecture will be on the history and development of the Chinese Martial Arts and will include a demonstration of traditional weaponry. 
  •  Lecturers: Junmin and Junjie from Shaolin, China.

Traditional music

  •  Sept. 25, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
  •  UA Crowder Hall on 101 N. Olive Rd. 
  •  Hear about Confucius ceremony music and Lu-Nan traditional instrumental music. 
  •  Guests include Huiquing Cheng, professor at the Shandong University of Arts and Design in Ji’nan, China.

Director Wu Tianming and cinema

  • Sept. 26, from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. 
  • South Ballroom on the third floor of the UA Student Union
  • The event will focus on the director Wu Tianming and Chinese films along with a screening of “The King of Masks,” a multi-award winning film by Wu. 
  •  Lecturer: Tan Ye, a professor at the University of South Carolina.

Chinese Moon Festival Poetry concert

  • Sept. 27 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. 
  • UA Poetry Center in the College of Humanities on 1508 E. Helen St. 
  • The UA Department of East Asian Studies will present Chinese vocal and instrumental music, including a lecture on ancient and modern poetry. 
  • Lecturer: Brigitta Lee and Dian Li, UA professors.

Search on human ancestors in China

  • Sept. 28, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. 
  • Second floor of the Kiva Room in the UA Student Union
  • A lecture that outlines recent efforts to search for ancient human ancestors in China. 
  • Lecturer: Xing Gao, an archeology professor from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.


  • Sept. 29, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
  • Tucson Chinese Cultural Center on 1288 W. River Rd. 
  • Students from elementary to college can test their knowledge of the Chinese language. Activities include making moon cakes, playing games and winning prizes. 
  • Co-hosted by the Tucson Chinese Association.

Moon Festival concert

  • Sept. 30, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. 
  • UA Crowder Hall 
  • The concert includes traditional, folk and choral music. 
  • Co-hosted by the UA School of Music and the Tucson Sino Choir.