Like anything else, education is prone to trends and fads. Currently, one of the big buzz-words in New York City is Mandarin. Schools are tripping over themselves to offer Mandarin to students and entice their parents with promises of the sort of doors knowing the business language of China can offer. The NY Times even called Mandarin "the new Spanish."
The trendy Avenues offers a Mandarin immersion track starting in pre-school, as does Dwight, while the venerable Brearley introduces it in Middle School. And dual language public schools are getting into the act, too, with downtown's P.S. 184m Shuang Wen among the best known.
It's no wonder then that NYU and ChineseCUBES have announced the first-ever Chinese Character Festival (CCF) in New York, a month-long celebration of Chinese characters that comprise the Chinese language and play a significant role in East Asian language, arts and cultures.
Co-organized by Chinese education tech startup ChineseCUBES and New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, the festival spans October 6 to November 3, 2013 with opening and closing events to be held at NYU Kimmel Center.
"New York Chinese Character Festival takes participants on a journey to experience and explore the beauty and art of Chinese Characters as well as their relevance to New York through a fun mix of interactive online contests and rewarded check-in spots, in and around the city," said Rex How, CEO of ChineseCUBES.
“It’s wonderful to see our students embrace the language they are learning as more than an academic pursuit, and to see it’s longstanding relevance to the city around them and be able to share that with others in the community beyond their peers," said Prof. Lixing Frank Tang of New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.
Added Professor Robin Harvey of New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, “Chinese language learning is not just a path to an international career, it’s also a wonderful celebration of a culture where the language itself is a work of art.”
While Jesse Poe, President of ChineseCUBES North America, contributed, "The festival is a collaboration of local and international artists, organizations, vendors and residents and is for people of all ages. I'm pleased to help bring this festival to New York, the greatest city in the world."
New York City is rich with history, places, and sights related to Chinese culture and language. The Chinese Character Festival features five signature online contests, which give local residents a chance to rediscover and engage with their city and communities through a different lens.
These Online contests include:
* Cultural Map Check-in Contest, encouraging check-ins to Cultural Map locations using the hashtag #CCFestival across social media channels like Foursquare, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr and Twitter. This map was created live by user submitted suggestions of locations of Chinese cultural significance in the New York metro area, including museums, restaurants, cafes, stores and monuments
* Best Chinese Character Tattoo Photo Contest, where participants upload to Facebook photos of the best Chinese character tattoos through October 27, 2013. People can support their favorites by sharing on Facebook and Google+. Judges will choose the top three winners to receive prizes. Best Chinese Calligraphy Photo Contest, where participants upload to Facebook photos of their or their friends' Chinese calligraphy through October 27, 2013. People can support their favorites by sharing on Facebook and Google+. Judges will choose the top three winners to receive prizes.
* Best Chinese Character T-shirt Design Contest, where participants submit designs for Chinese character-inspired T-shirts through October 23, 2013. People are invited to support their favorite designs on social media. Judges will choose the top three designs to receive prizes.
On Closing Day, the winning designs will be printed on T-shirts and modeled in a “fashion show”. The four online competitions will be bookended by Opening Day and Closing Day festivities, both held at NYU Kimmel Center’s Rosenthal Pavilion. The Opening Day will be held on Sunday, October 6th and feature a Taiwanese delicacies reception, cultural performances and hands-on Chinese character activities and games, including a Chinese spelling bee. The Closing Day will be held on Sunday, November 3rd with an awards ceremony for the winners of the online contests, a T-shirt design fashion show and other cultural games and performances.
The idea of the New York Chinese Character Festival came about via collaboration between Professors Frank Tang and Robin Harvey of NYU Steinhardt, Director and Coordinator of DCLT, and Rex How, Taiwanese publisher and founder of ChineseCUBES, had organized the 8th Annual Chinese Character Festival in Taipei in 2012.
Due to the popularity of such Chinese character festivals in Asia, and the rising trend and interest in learning Chinese in the United States, How with the help of Tang and Harvey, brought the festival stateside to give New Yorkers the opportunity to experience and explore Chinese characters in their own communities and daily lives. The festival was first created to raise public awareness and reinvigorate interest in the ancient writing system, reminding people of the history, heritage, and cultural relevance of Chinese characters.
Over the years, the festival has evolved to become an annual celebration of Chinese language, art, and culture; and starting this fall it will be a part of NYC as well, celebrating not only traditional Chinese language and culture but also the breadth and depth of culture here in the United States and specifically New York and the surrounding areas.
Learn more at: http://www.caacarts.org/dp/?q=/node/29&def=18