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Chinese Festival Swings into Olympic Centre

16 April 2012

The University of Ulster’s celebration of Chinese culture continues this week with a gymnastics display at Olympic training facilities in Lisburn.

The gymnastics and Tai Chi event will be performed by gymnasts from the Salto Gymnastics Centre and a Tai Chi master and pupil in Lisburn this evening as part of a series of events marking the launch of the Confucius Institute at the University of Ulster (CIUU).

The Salto Centre has been chosen as a training base for China’s artistic gymnasts for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Dean of the Faculty of the Arts, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh said: “This is an obvious link-up for the Confucius Institute. Salto is a national centre of excellence, and the decision of the Chinese gymnastics team to base itself here for pre-Olympic training cements Salto’s growing international reputation.

“We hope that this and other events organised during Chinese Culture Week will give people a taste of the country’s rich culture and help them develop an appetite for more knowledge about China.”

Northern Ireland’s only Confucius Institute formally came into being with a colourful opening ceremony in Jordanstown on 13 April attended by China’s most senior female politician, Madame Liu Yandong, Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and other dignitaries.

To coincide with the launch last Friday, the culture festival will feature musical recitals and culinary displays at a number of venues on and off campus.

There will also be three events aimed at business audiences wishing to export to China. These will be in Derry~Londonderry, Carrickfergus and Belfast City Hall on April 18 and 19. The guest speakers will be University College Dublin academic Professor Cathal Brugha, who has written about the Irish experience of doing business in China, and Homson Shaw, Associate Dean of the International College of Zhejiang University of Media and Communications and Co-Director of CIUU.

There will also be music recitals and culinary events on the Belfast and Magee campuses on April 17, at Parliament Buildings on April 18 and the Coleraine campus on April 19.

 The week of events will close with an invited dinner on the Coleraine campus on April 20 where CIUU’s headquarters will be based.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Ulster (CIUU) is a hugely significant development – providing a resource that our education system, businesses, government, arts and cultural organisations can tap into as they forge relationships with counterparts in China.

 It is part of a network of 370 Confucius Institutes at leading universities across the world – 20 of which are in the UK and two in the Republic of Ireland.