West meets East at 1 year anniversary of Confucius Institute Maastricht

Maastricht, 6th of July, 2018

West meets East at 1 year anniversary of Confucius Institute Maastricht

On the 6th of July 2018, the Confucius Institute at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in Maastricht celebrated the first anniversary since officially opening her doors on July 7th 2017.

After a year of development,  the Confucius Institute Maastricht invited students, professionals, companies and friends from various sectors to join the celebrations for this one year establishment. More importantly, it was time for Confucius Institute to share our mission and vision with the audience.

Not only by words, but also through deeds, Confucius Institute Maastricht at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences is sharing the mission and vision of having a Confucius Institute in Maastricht as a knowledge institute to facilitate learning and development between the Netherlands and China, through linguistic and intercultural perspectives.

The programme started with a speech from Mr. Mike de Leeuw, a truly inspiring entrepreneur in Maastricht and former Business Unit Manager of DSM, with many years of experience of working and living in China. His story inspired people to unlock a new cultural perspective by respecting each other’s norms and values. Living in China, family value is the most appreciated one, therefore, the organization culture at that time shall also value this. Therefore, he spent his time in developing a “family” oriented organization to match with the Chinese employees’ organization culture.

This was followed by a musical Intermezzo with an interpretation of the prelude La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin composed by Claude Debussy in 1909 inspired by pentatonic scaled oriental music. For this unique occasion Chen Zengqui on piano and Rob Kuster on the Guqin, (an ancient Chinese string instrument) gave the piece a new dimension.

The inauguration of the Confucius Institute directors Xinxin Wang and Lili Deng was co-presented by the president Luc Verburgh of Zuyd University of Applied Sciences and the president Xia Chunyu of Dongbei University of Finance and Economics. The newly inaugurated director Xinxin Wang introduced the Advisory Board including Governor Theo Bovens, Mayor Anne Annemarie Penn-te Strake and Mr Jan Zuidam. The advisory board will give advice on the CI on its development.

Ms Petra Quaedvlieg hosted an interesting panel discussion on the topic of “The key to Intercultural Communication and Cooperation”. Professor Song Xinning from Brussels, Cao Xuefei from the Groningen Confucius Institute, lecturer Mark Pluymaekers and Esther Mol  and Matt Heckman joined the discussion and shared their thoughts on the recent communication developments between two countries.

When the event was drawing to a close, the future activities for 2019 – 2022 and planning were presented. Various creative projects and activities were shared with the audience.

To close the ceremony, a series of cultural performances kicked off with a Guzheng and Pipa ensemble of a famous song of the Yi Ethnic minority. What surprised the audience is that they also played the song from Game of Thrones. Singer Li Min sang a song of the Yangtze River. She invited the audience to feel the beauty of the Yangtze river.

Following the classic song, another beautiful authentic song was played. This time, the audience welcomed three young hiphop dancers. The traditional Chinese music and hiphop dancing combination has inspired the audience with the beauty of the modern youth culture and the traditions from the far east. The surprise continued when Walt Disney‘s Mulan movie was projected on the big screen. When the cultural performances came to an end, the host invited the group of CI members, the advisory board and the distinguished guests to sing Happy Birthday to celebrate the 1 year birthday of CI. Two Chinese Lions were welcomed on the stage and led the group to the after event drinks.

East truly met West with these beautiful and creative elements that give an impression about what can be created when intercultural communication and cooperation take a further step. Confucius Institute Maastricht is looking forward to cooperatively continue to develop and raise up this young institute. We look forward to celebrating our second year birthday gathering with you next year!