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Despite the inclement weather on the 1st March guests and participants came from far and wide to the Belfast Waterfront to participate in the much anticipated annual event hosted by Ulster University's Confucius Institute. MC for the evening was Dr Wendy Austin MBE who welcomed everyone to the celebration inviting the speakers to the stage.
Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Ian Montgomery extended a welcome to all those who braved the snowy conditions and spoke about the work of the Confucius Institute, paying tribute to the students and teachers involved in the Confucius Classroom programme. The other guest speakers on the evening included, the Chinese Consul Director, Madame Wang Shuying, Dr Andrew McCormick, Director General of International Relations at The Executive Office; and Hub school leaders, principals, Mrs Sharon Lamont of Millburn Primary School, Coleraine, Dr Frances Vasey of Grosvenor Grammar School, Belfast and Mr Michael McAllister CEO of South West College.
This year saw the return of the Nanjing Little Red Flower Troupe to Northern Ireland to perform for a second time at the Confucius Institute's Chinese New Year celebrations. The children put on a colourful evening's entertainment depicting traditional Chinese stories and folk tales through opera, folk song and dramatic dance performances. Millburn Primary School's renowned school choir also performed on the evening, displaying the efforts of all their hard work, talent and dedication, singing a song in Mandarin Chinese.
Mr Tommy O'Reilly, Deputy Secretary for Education and Children's Services, and Professor Montgomery presented prizes to the winners of the Chinese New Year Poster Competition, the very popular annual event open to all children participating in the Confucius Classroom programme. This year a new award, the Confucius Institute's Young Ambassadors, was established to recognise a group of young people chosen from each of the 8 Hubs in recognition of their outstanding achievements in learning Mandarin Chinese and culture. Jason Wassal of Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College delivered a speech in Mandarin and English on behalf of all the Young Ambassadors.
The evening's entertainment was drawn to a close with a performance by the choir of Grosvenor Grammar School who sang the Mandarin song, 'The Call of the Road'.
For more images of the evening's events go to our Chinese New Year, 2018 gallery.