Confucius Institute Celebrates New Year with Community Event, Chinese Cultural Activities

Feb. 16, 2018

Confucius Institute Celebrates New Year with Community
The event includes a variety of activities for all ages to increase cultural exposure and understanding.

The Confucius Institute at Webster University wishes the entire community a happy new year, ringing in the the year of the dog with its annual Chinese New Year celebration on Monday, Feb. 13, in the Grant Gymnasium.

Over 500 local K-12 students, parents, teachers and Webster University staff and students attended.

Nancy Hellerud, Webster's vice provost, delivered a speech welcoming audience members to the University and wishing everyone all the best in the coming year.

The keynote speaker was Chinese-American guitarist Kaiser Kuo, co-founder of the popular Chinese heavy metal band Tang Dynasty and a leader of initiatives promoting greater China-U.S. cultural understanding.

Chinese New Year celebration activities hosted by the Confucius Institute at Webster University
Activities included song, dance, calligraphy and more. Keynote speaker Kaiser Kuo (bottom left, with Courtney LeCompte of the Confucius Institute) spoke of building bridges between cultures.

In 2010, he started the Sinica show, a current affairs podcast based in Beijing that invites prominent China journalists and China-watchers to participate in uncensored discussions about Chinese political and economic affairs. Kaiser also served as the director of international communications for Baidu, one of China's biggest Internet companies.

In his speech, Kaiser drew on his own life experiences to encourage all of us to develop an “overarching mission.”

For Kaiser, that mission is building bridges between two very different, influential cultures, a mission that poses many challenges: “Often when you are on an island on a river between two banks, when people from one side of that island look at you, they think that you belong to the other side…It’s not always easy, but it is incredibly rewarding and it is so vital to this planet, to our respective societies.”

Watch an excerpt of his remarks below or at this YouTube link:

Throughout the morning, students engaged in traditional Chinese arts and crafts, such as tying intricate Chinese knots, as well as less traditional but equally delightful crafts like molding play-doh pandas. They also tried their hands at Chinese calligraphy, and, using only chopsticks, raced each other to fill cups with M&Ms. 

Students from Saint Louis University High School wowed the audience with a performance of the Lion Dance, a colorful performance often seen during Chinese New Year. Following this came several stellar acts by elementary students from Saint Louis Immersion Schools, who sang songs and recited poems in Chinese. 

tags:  academics, home page, webster life, confucius institute, community engagement, webster today,