Confucius Institute at Pace Hosts “Chinese Bridge” – Chinese Culture & Language Competition

On Saturday, April 17, from 10 AM to 5 PM in the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University’s downtown Manhattan campus, approximately 25 non-Chinese contestants will try to impress Chinese judges with their knowledge of the world’s most-spoken language and the culture behind it.

Media Contact:

Samuella Becker, Pace Public Information, 212-346-1637, cell 917-734-5172, sbecker2@pace.edu

New Chinese proverb: The longest journey begins with a single contest

Pace University hosts April 17 regional finals of competition in knowledge of Chinese language and culture for prizes of trips to Beijing

Pace further expands China-related activities with essay competition created by New York Chinese Opera Society, participation in 8th conference on teaching of Chinese

NEW YORK, NY, April 12, 2010 – The event mixes American Idol and the Putnam County Spelling Bee, with trips to China as the prizes.

It also is a microcosm of current efforts by China to encourage foreigners to know it better at the levels that undergird commerce and diplomacy.

On Saturday, April 17, from 10 AM to 5 PM in the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University’s downtown Manhattan campus, approximately 25 non-Chinese contestants will try to impress Chinese judges with their knowledge of the world’s most-spoken language and the culture behind it.

They will give speeches in Chinese, perform Chinese songs or dances, demonstrate other Chinese arts like paper cuts and calligraphy (including martial arts), or answer questions about past and present-day China.

The winners will get a chance to compete against contestants from around the world in a final round this summer in Beijing, all expenses paid, plus offers of scholarships to study in China for one semester.

The event is free and open to the public. The auditorium is located at 3 Spruce Street, just east of City Hall.

Media admission by press passes. Please notify us if you will cover this event or would like to interview some of the organizers and contestants by phone.

The competition is the 9th annual “Chinese Bridge,” officially known as the Greater New York Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students. It is hosted by the year-old Confucius Institute at Pace University and sponsored by Hanban, the nonprofit organization organized by the Chinese government to spread knowledge of Chinese language and culture around the world.

Competitors next Saturday will have risen to the top of an original field of 85 contestants who were winnowed in preliminary rounds held April 3 at New York University and Ohio State. The initial entrants came from 13 countries including the western nations of the US, England, Germany and Spain as well as Korea and Japan. They are studying at 32 universities ranging from Eastern Ivies like Penn and Princeton to the University of Akron and SUNY Binghamton.

Roughly a third of the regional finalists will be chosen for the final round.

The competition will be broadcast by Chinese TV channels in China and to all of the worldwide Confucius Institutes. It will covered by the main Chinese government media agencies in the US, in both English and Chinese. The event is a pilot test of a competition that Hanban hopes will become nationwide next year.

Opened last May, the Confucius Institute at Pace University is the first university-based Confucius Institute in New York City and one of 60 in the US and nearly 300 around the world created by China to spread knowledge of Chinese language and culture.

Essay contest, teaching conference

A week after the Bridge competition, on April 23, the Pace Confucius Institute will join with the New York Chinese Opera Society in a reception to celebrate establishment of an endowed fund of $25,000 that the Society has created to sponsor an annual essay competition at Pace “on the study of Chinese culture and history.”

The NYCOS has performed frequently at Pace’s Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, most recently staging a performance of the opera “The Story of Ruth.”

In a third sign of Pace University’s increasing links to China, on May 15, the Confucius Institute at Pace University will host the8th annual conference of the Chinese Language Teachers Association of Greater New York, in which more than 200 teachers and scholars are expected to participate. Attendees from secondary schools, colleges and universities will be offered nearly 60 presentations on everything from Chinese naming conventions to motivating online learners and “digital Chinese storytelling.”

More information on the conference is at http://clta-gny.org/10conf/10conf_invite.html.

About the Pace Confucius Institute

The competitions are among the first events arranged by the Confucius Institute at Pace. It expects to inaugurate Chinese language classes for both students and professional groups; encourage interdisciplinary scholarship on China through collaborate research, conferences and public lectures; develop innovative teaching and learning techniques and institutional exchanges, integrate study of China into Pace University’s liberal arts and professional curricula, and sponsor seminars for professionals in business, education, film and theater.

Its budget is contributed in equal shares by Pace, Hanban, and the Phoenix Publishing and Media Group, one of China’s largest media conglomerates. PPMG has sent executives to Pace’s graduate publishing program since 2007.

About Pace University

For 103 years Pace University has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu

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