Confucius Institute at Xavier holds Metairie fest

By Christine Bordelon, Clarion Herald
February 17, 2018 issue

A family-friendly Chinese New Year block party will take place Feb. 25 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on 18th Street in Metairie to celebrate the Chinese “Year of the Dog” in the lunar calendar.

This free, inaugural event dubbed “Culture, Education and Economic Development” will feature Asian food from local merchants, crafts and popular entertainment such as the Beijing Opera, Chinese lion dance, a face-changing artist (who will quickly change masks during the performance) and Chinese traditional music performances. Performances from several schools that have grades from kindergarten through 12th grade also are scheduled.

“We thought it was great opportunity to reach out to the community and provide a platform for our Chinese program in the Greater New Orleans area,” said Shu Peng, assistant director of the Confucius Institute on Xavier University of Louisiana’s campus and a Mandarin instructor. “We invited several K-12 schools to sing, dance, fan dance and host an activity under tents for visitors.”

The Confucius Institute is a partnership program that promotes the Chinese language and culture through education, resources and services to students at Xavier as well as the community at-large.

It has been at Xavier since 2012 and is the top Chinese language program in the state of Louisiana, offering Chinese language credit courses at Xavier and off-campus at six elementary schools, Peng said. It is the winner of the 2016 worldwide “Confucius Institute of the Year Award” by its headquarters in Beijing, Peng said,

The institute has hosted distinguished lecture series on the Chinese economy, culture and society and, since 2013, has sponsored five Student Summer Study Abroad programs and three educational delegation trips to China.

Exposure in East Jefferson

The Institute also has offered two cultural celebrations each year on Xavier’s campus – the Chinese New Year and a fall “Moon” festival. This year’s Metairie block party replaces the on-campus New Year’s event, Peng said. It is co-sponsored by the Xavier University of Louisiana Confucius Institute and the Metairie Business Development District.

The event will take place on 18th Street from Edenborn Avenue to North Arnoult Road.

This summer, the institute will have a children’s summer camp. For more on the Confucius Institute, call 520-7237 or visit: http://www.xula.edu/confucius/, email confucius@xula.edu or follow Confucius Institute on Xavier University’s Facebook page.

Christine Bordelon can be reached at cbordelon@clarionherald.org.

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