The Fifth Anniversary of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington (CIWA) was observed by over 200 guests in the Brockey Center at South Seattle College. Representatives from non-profit organizations, education agencies, schools, and school districts state-wide attended the ceremony to celebrate this milestone with CIWA.

The Franklin High School Lion Dance Team made their entrance at 5:45 p.m. Mark Wen, CIWA Board member serving as MC, announced the beginning of dinner. After dinner, CIWA Directors, Dr. Jeffrey Riedinger, the Vice Provost of Global Affairs at the University of Washington, Dr. Michele Aoki, International Education Administrator at Seattle Public Schools, Dr. Jun Zhou, professor from Sichuan University, Wenqiu Wang from Chongqing Municipal Education Commission, and Aihua Liao, CIWA Assistant Director at the University of Washington expressed their gratitude to partners, teachers, and volunteers. Dr. Jeffrey Riedinger read letters of congratulations from Madame Xu Lin, Director General of Hanban and Sichuan University. Distinguished guests such as Yang Jun, Counsellor of Education from the Consulate-General of The People’s Republic of China in San Francisco, Dr. Larry Nyland, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, and Li Shiyu, Director of the Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges and the representative of Seattle Public School’s Chongqing partnership, congratulated CIWA on its achievements. CIWA was also pleased to recognize Randy Dorn, Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Dr. Alan Burke, Executive Director of the Washington State School Directors’ Association, who have been strong state-level proponents of the Confucius Institute.

Ensuing were engaging performances by both Chinese and American students. Najaha, a Chinese Level 2 student from Chief Sealth International High School, served as the MC for the cultural program. The audience was immediately attracted by the traditional Chinese dance and Erhu solo by Nankai Middle School students from Chongqing. These two performances showcased the richness and unique beauty of Chinese culture. The Chinese dance by Margaret Ma, a student from Denny International Middle School, and Sophia Grupp, a student from Chief Sealth International High School was spectacular. Another two performances—break dance by Cleveland High School students and singing by Glory Burford, a student at Tyee Middle School in Bellevue—were also very well received. The language arts performance “Who’s on first?” by Nat and Denny Beaumon from Mercer International Middle School and Beacon Hill International School respectively perfectly reflected the features of Chinese language, successfully tickling the funny bones of the audience.

The last performance was a song “You and Me” by the Nankai Middle School delegation and Sophia Grupp from Chief Sealth. This song expressed their excitement at being in Seattle and their best wishes for a long-lasting friendship between China and the U.S. The celebration concluded with the whole audience‘s participation in singing the song.