June 2010, Volume 14, Number 3


MDC cuts ribbon for first Confucius Institute in South Florida

In an evening filled with the rich history, beauty and pageantry of China, Miami Dade College President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón and a delegation of Chinese officials signed an agreement for the College to host the only Confucius Institute in South Florida in partnership with Xuzhou Normal University, Jiangsu Province. The landmark occasion was followed by a night of celebration, performance and art.

"It is a tremendous honor for MDC to be selected to host the Confucius Institute," said Wei (Rosey) Yang-Krivak, director, International Partnerships, MDC. "The College has been steadfastly committed to strengthening its educational ties with China, and this is yet another step in that direction."

The Confucius Institute is a nonprofit, non-governmental educational institute promoting knowledge of the Mandarin language and culture, particularly in the context of understanding modern China.

The recent inauguration at Wolfson Campus, where the Institute is housed, was attended by delegations from the City of Miami and the State of Florida and by Miami-Dade County Public and Private School Administrators along with representatives from the College’s Board of Trustees, Foundation Board and management.

Guests included Chinese Consul General Mme. Gao Yanping, Deputy Director General Wang Yongli and Xu Fangming, president of Xuzhou Normal University, MDC’s partner.

Artists from China gave a lyrical performance of music and dance to celebrate the signing. Fifty-four students from MDC’s New World School of the Arts closed the performances by singing a famous Chinese folk song in Mandarin under the direction of Dr. Albert Clark, director of NWSA’s Concert Choir. An elegant reception followed in a spectacularly decorated room with an exhibit titled "Traces of Confucius," featuring renderings of 30 paintings on 8-by-4-foot silk panels commissioned by a Ming Emperor.

The previous night the Chinese delegation was honored with a sunset cruise with MDC faculty and staff. During the ride, Dr. Paul George, professor of Social Science at MDC, presented a historical tour of Biscayne Bay.

The Confucius Institute collaboration further extends MDC’s rich history of partnerships with Chinese government agencies, learning institutions and organizations. For example, MDC has trained Chinese air traffic controllers and hospitality and human resources executives, and also has hosted Chinese Fulbright Teaching Assistants, who have taught Mandarin and economics at MDC’s Wolfson and Kendall campuses.

— BB

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