China week commences in Student Union

“China Week started off with a bang on Oct. 5 when the first event, Fun with Chinese Characters and Proverbs, was held. The event took place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the Student Union in room 312. Dr. Bill Lyons, professor of political science and Ms. Yongfang Zhang, instructor in the Department of Modern Languages were the presenters of this event.”

China Week started off with a bang on Oct. 5 when the first event, Fun with Chinese Characters and Proverbs, was held.

The event took place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the Student Union in room 312. Dr. Bill Lyons, professor of political science and Ms. Yongfang Zhang, instructor in the Department of Modern Languages were the presenters of this event.

A lot of people think of Chinese as incomprehensive, something they could never learn, so we wanted to get people into a room, practice some sounds and learn some characters, Lyons said.

Lyons explains that they used proverbs because they are interesting and fun, and the presenters were trying to get people interested and excited in Chinese culture and language.

Although Lyons did not have the official count of how many people were there, he estimates there were at least 80. This is a much bigger turnout than they expected, especially because the presentation began at 8 a.m.

I think people are curious about China because it is an emerging global power and is in the news. It is both an ally and competitor of the U.S., depending on the context, Lyons said.

He added, people were interested in finding out more about this country that can seem pretty different at times.

Lyons thinks it is important for people to learn about Chinese Culture for different reasons. He believes it is an essential part of being an educated person to invest in understanding the world.

Lyons said that learning about Chinese Culture is important in order to be prepared to succeed in a world where China will be one of America’s most important allies and competitors.

Just about any job you do within the next 50 years is likely to involve interacting with Chinese culture, Chinese language and Chinese practices, Lyons said.

During his undergraduate years, Lyons majored in economics and Chinese language. In 1979, President Carter formally established diplomatic relations with the Chinese government, and Lyons had a chance to go live in China for a year. Lyons was one of the first American students to live in China after Carter’s announcement.

Zhang said that people benefit from China week because they learn to be open-minded and want to learn about globalization and another culture.

She believes some people may come to learn the Chinese language and learn about the Chinese culture.

It is important to learn Chinese culture because with China’s increasing economics there is no way we can have no interaction between China and the U.S., Zhang said.

Zhang believes The University of Akron decided to hold its first ever China week because of UA’s own arrival of the Confucius Institute, and the local community noticing that Akron needs a stronger Chinese program to promote interest in learning another culture.

Zhang also encourages people to try and learn Chinese. They at least need to try because if they never experience it, they will never know how fun it is, Zhang said.

In Lyons’s opinion, the films that are shown at 4 p.m. each day are excellent, and she encourages student and faculty to go. Also, he enjoyed the presentation by Dr. Susan Shirk, who is director of the Institute for Global Conflict at The University of California, Monday evening in the Student Union Ballroom. This was probably the most interesting and compelling event of the whole week. For a complete list of events, go to http://www.uakron.edu/dotAsset/601810.pdf