Confucius Institute Australian Director Maggie Jiang
2021 has been another extraordinary year. Two features particularly stand out: greater recognition across the world of the interconnectedness of all life, revealed so starkly by this global pandemic and climate change, and secondly, the importance of Australia’s international relationships in building a secure and prosperous future for all Australians.
Ironically, while our ability to physically cross borders has been limited, our cross-border relationships have become increasingly important. There is much to be gained from seeking to understand different values and perspectives, and working together toward common goals. We have the ability to grow greater harmony in our own community and between nations. I deeply appreciate being in a position to build bridges between cultures through the work of this Institute, at a time when it is critically important.
As we head into the holiday period, the news that WA will be opening up to the world again next year is warmly welcomed. I join with many of you in looking forward to connecting in person with loved ones and new friends from across borders. At the same time, we are saying goodbye to our Associate Director, two volunteers and four teachers as they return home after finishing their placements. We look forward to introducing a number of new faces early next year.
Our 2022 program of activities will kick off in late January with the recommencement of our Chinese classes and the launch of a new business Chinese course, focussing on the language used in professional environments. Our first event for the year is a webinar on February 10: Reading India, Reading China will feature a panel of expert speakers discussing the most important things Australia needs to know to interact successfully with India and China. I hope you will tune in.
Please read on for our news from the last few months, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates. I wish everyone a relaxing and rejuvenating break, and I look forward to the opportunity to work together in 2022.
Maggie Ying Jiang
New ‘Immerse Me’ Holiday Program
Our new ‘Immerse Me’ Holiday Program was developed in response to the closure of international borders - to offer language students the opportunity to practice their conversation skills with native speakers while being immersed in Chinese culture. The two-day program for students in Years 7 to 11 booked out quickly. Calligraphy, Chinese dance, dumpling making, Tai Chi and other activities were on the schedule. Students also travelled to Northbridge to enjoy an authentic Chinese meal while learning about dining etiquette. There is strong demand for activities like this while school trips are paused, and we will develop the program further in 2022.
WA Museum Boola Bardip Workshops
In November we wrapped up our inaugural series of workshops at the WA Museum Boola Bardip. The Discover China — Culture and Craft sessions are held on the first Sunday of every month (excluding school holidays) with adults and children all getting involved in the hands-on activities. One lovely family even took the time to write to us about how much they enjoyed the workshop, and we are delighted that the Museum has invited us back in 2022 to keep this public program going.
Film Translation and Voice Recording
In October we greatly enjoyed assisting Fremantle based film company Prospero Productions to prepare a nature documentary for release in China. The film, Under the Dome: Whale Super Highway, focusses on the extraordinary migration of humpback whales off the coast of WA and is especially made for screening in 180 degree dome cinemas. It was a team effort to translate the film and work with Director Julia Redwood to record it in Mandarin. We are pleased to play a role in helping to showcase Australia and its incredible marine life in China.
In September we were proud to be presenting partners for the Chung Wah Association's WA Chinese Guzheng Festival 2021. Events included a seminar at UWA and a folk music concert at Methodist Ladies' College. The final event took place at our Claremont campus in October, featuring a magnificent display of guzheng artistry. More than 100 of Perth's most experienced guzheng players made a stunning sight assembled on our oval with their traditional wooden instruments for the Guzheng Grand Ensemble performance. Groups from Methodist Ladies' College, Christ Church Grammar School, Oberthur Primary School and the Chung Wah Chinese School Leeming performed before an appreciative crowd.
Language and Culture Workshops for UWA Staff
We offered two free Chinese Language and Culture Workshops for UWA staff this year, in April and October. The Workshops consisted of five weekly sessions covering basic Chinese pronunciation and useful phrases. There was fantastic engagement from across UWA and we were pleased to help our colleagues learn language fundamentals and tips for pronouncing Chinese names.
Learning Links Program
We were proud to once again support UWA’s Learning Links Program with Shenton College. Year 10 students and Chinse language learners Nicholas and Sayori spent one week on work placement with us in October, gaining hands-on experience in administration of language programs, project coordination and social media management.
Cultural Experiences for Schools
The last half of the year was once again a busy time for school incursions and excursions. In August, students from Melville Senior High School, St George’s Anglican Grammar School and Penrhos College took part in music and culture workshops. In September and October Dalyellup College and Bateman Primary School hosted our teachers and volunteers for incursions involving hundreds of students, and in December three classes from Rossmoyne Senior High School visited us at Claremont bringing life and energy to the Campus.
Claremont Library Community Program
Our popular Chinese Corner program at the Claremont Library on Saturday mornings attracts people of all ages keen to practise their Mandarin. In November the Town of Claremont recognized the dedication of CI teachers and volunteers with Certificates of Appreciation. Claremont Community Hub & Library manager Sarah Liddiard thanked the team for delivering a structured and professional program which was appreciated by the community. .
Language Tests - HSK and YCT
A regular part of our schedule involves facilitating Chinese language proficiency tests. The internationally recognised HSK test approximates the English TOEFL and is an important means for Chinese learners of all ages to demonstrate their language ability for scholarship, academic and work applications. The YCT is aimed at primary and secondary school students.We hold regular testing sessions at UWA Claremont campus and also assist schools to hold the tests at their own venues. In August and November this year we worked with Methodist Ladies' College and All Saints' College.In 2021, several hundred people sat HSK and YCT tests. We congratulate all who took up the challenge and wish them success in their future Chinese studies..