Confucius Institute awards four sponsorships

Kaely Holloway

The Confucius Institute announced its Spring 2013 Sponsorship recipients last week. Four were awarded this year, each getting sponsorships of $250 to go toward their proposed events relating to Asian culture.

Ke Peng, of the modern languages department, Chunmei Du, of the history department, Amy Hersch, of Family and Consumer Sciences and Jie Zhang, of Education Administration, were the four awarded this year. Their events will bring international education and awareness of Eastern culture to the campus and community.


Terrill Martin, associate director of business development for the Confucius Institute, announced the winners. He encourages this sponsorship program as a way to bring more Chinese and Asian culture to the area that the Confucius Institute alone may not be able to provide.

“We (the Confucius Institute) want to spawn creativity around campus and the community regarding Asian themes,” Martin said.

The individual proposals and scholarships from the institute will allow speakers and professionals to come to WKU and discuss culture, hold a tea ceremony and advise students on the art and skill of Feng Shui.

Feng Shui is an interior design technique used in Eastern culture that involves balancing energies in a room or space to assure health and good fortune.

“The Confucius Institute has its own focus,” Martin said. “We have 33 volunteer teachers going to 41 schools and districts with the main focus being language and culture. Through this (sponsorship), we can sponsor programs for needs that aren’t being met.”

This is only the second year the Confucius Institute has had this sponsorship program. Last year, six were awarded, including one for an Asian- themed play and another bringing a speaker to talk to faculty about diversity and cultural differences.

With help from this sponsorship, Ke Peng will purchase the needed materials for students to learn and perform a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.

“In Chinese culture, the tea ceremony is described in American words as peace, quiet, enjoyment and truth,” she said. “Through the ceremony, we can provide the health benefits of drinking tea with underlying philosophies.”

Those applying for this sponsorship had to submit an application and proposal to the institute. The proposal had to be for an event or opportunity relating to Asian culture, but creativity was not limited. Any form of a proposal could be submitted; it did not have to be academic.

Martin said that some of the sponsored events could become implemented into the Confucius program, based on the success of the event.

Betty Yu, assistant director of the Confucius Institute, is pleased with the coming events resulting from these sponsorships.

“We like to promote our program throughout WKU,” Yu said.