Passport to the World studies China - Program examines quickly growing country

 

By Kendall Smith

The UK College of Arts and Sciences Passport to the World program is taking a look at China, a country that continues to grow in global significance.

“It is one of the most important countries for America to develop better opportunities with economically, politically and socially,” said Keiko Tanaka, coordinator of the China Initiative.

Particularly over the the past 50 years, China has been one of the fastest growing countries in the world and has made its presence felt in the global arena and shows no signs of slowing down.

“We picked China because it is one of the most important countries for America to develop better opportunities with economically, politically and socially,” said Keiko Tanaka, coordinator of the China Initiative.

Particularly over the the past 50 years, China has been one of the fastest growing countries in the world and has made its presence felt in the global arena and shows no signs of slowing down.

“We picked China because it is the most populous nation in the world with enormous economic growth and would be an area of particular interest to students,” said Mark Kornbluh, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Passport to the World program is an effort by UK to engage people in important global conversations, educate them in the lifestyles of those in other countries and highlight cultural similarities and  differences.

Tanaka, who is also an associate professor of sociology and director of the Asia Center, says the program is an excellent way for the university to achieve its goal of internationalization.

“In the last 10 years we were essential to building Japanese and Chinese Studies majors,” Tanaka said. “We have become the hub for resources, so when the dean wanted to collaborate for a China program, the Asia Center already had a network of contacts, so this is kind of a marriage of those resources.”

The “Year of China” will consist of events and exhibitions, a film series and a lecture series.

A wide range of subjects will be covered, providing attendees with a broad picture of life in China.

“There is an education component, as well as family and religion,” Tanaka said. “We have a program about China’s role in global food security. The topic is really diverse.”

Many of the colleges at UK will be taking part in the Year of China to cover as many subject areas as possible.

“It’s really broad and most of the colleges are participating, from Fine Arts to Agriculture to Public Health, as well as Arts and Sciences,” said Kornbluh.

“The goal is to be very far reaching and to give the campus a lot of opportunities.”

The lecture series will feature speakers from all over the country, including Harvard,

UCLA and George Mason University, to share their knowledge and thoughts on an array of topics concerning China.

“There are a variety of speakers with diverse expertise,” Tanaka said. “Many of them are faculty members at other universities. They will be able to share their experiences from their universities, too.”

While the Year of China is open to the public, students who are particularly interested in the subject can elect to take a two credit hour class to expand on what they learn.

The class, which starts Oct. 4, is eight weeks long and primarily focuses on the film and lecture series with supplemental assignments for students to complete.

Additionally, UK offers a variety of courses focused on Chinese culture.

“If they get interested in learning more about China, there are opportunities,” Tanaka said. “They can take Chinese history, literature, arts, languages and art history.”

The Year of China kickoff event will be Wednesday from 12-3 p.m. on the Student Center

patio. There will be a cooking demonstration with free samples, a Tai Chi demonstration and free T-shirts for those who attend.

For more information on all the events and details about Year of China, please visit china.as.uky.edu

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