Lunar New Year Greetings from CI President James B. Heimowitz
Dear Friends of China Institute,
As we gear up to welcome the Year of the Rat — the first animal in the 12-year Chinese Zodiac cycle– I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your ongoing support. We believe insight into China through culture provides powerful human connections, and as the year of the Rat kicks off, I wanted to acknowledge some of the ways China Institute (CI) is helping Americans know China better, and what’s in store for 2020!
As CI moves into its 94th year (and fifth year in our Lower Manhattan facility) we are expanding both physically and programmatically. At this very moment, I can hear the sounds of progress as we finish our build-out of an additional 5,000 sq ft on our second floor.
This includes: a magnificent multi-purpose event space that can accommodate more than 200 people; more classrooms to meet the needs of our growing school; dedicated space for our Discover China Through Art program; a re-modeled Confucius Institute, and a new ECNU center (East China Normal University has been our academic partner for 14 years). Later this year, we will begin construction on a 4,000 sq ft Center for Contemporary China on our ground floor.
Since re-locating to Lower Manhattan, China Institute has engaged younger and more diverse audiences across our core pillars of education, business, art, and culture. We welcomed many thousands of community members to learn more about China through 100+ public programs and member events on literature, trade, digital art, fashion, history, philanthropy, and poetry, as well as a wide slate of Chinese films and documentaries, Music at China Institute performances, our inaugural Food & Ideas Festival, and partner events. CI convened international authors, business leaders, artists and academics such as WANG Huiyao, LI Songsong, WU Hao, Ezra Vogel, CAI Jingdong, SUN Xun, Peter Walker, and Kevin Xie, just to name a few! In just one weekend, CI programs spanned China’s tech leadership, a concert of Mongolian throat singers, and an in-depth look at the U.S.-China trade war!
Our most recent exhibit at the China Institute Gallery Art of the Mountain: Through the Photographers Lens, saw more than 15,000 people view its poignant and stunning array of images. The Year of the Rat will mark the commencement of a renovation process that will provide the Gallery with a more accommodating environment to hold a slate of dynamic exhibits sure to dazzle and delight for years to come.
Amidst the renovation and an expanded schedule of public programs, the School of Chinese Studies announced China Institute’s Mandarin Immersion Preschool is accepting its first cohort in Fall 2020. It’s slated to serve our youngest students and designed to give them the skills they need to navigate the future. The School also welcomed hundreds of new children and adults to learn Mandarin, calligraphy, poetry, Tai-Chi, and Chinese music with our master educators. At the same time, the School’s commitment to professional development remains steadfast, holding numerous programs for teachers and school administrators.
Big challenges for the U.S. and China saw our Center for Business take on more importance as it grew its reputation as a vital source for conversation and connection. Our Global Council forums provide closed-door opportunities for c-suite level executives to have meaningful networking and deeper U.S.-China understanding. The CI Executive Summit on April 16 is open to the public and will address an urgent global topic: “Managing Rivalry: How to Win in the Post-Trade War World.” Confirmed speakers already include Kishore Mahbubani, Senior Diplomat, and Graham Allison, Professor of Government at Harvard University.
All of our programs and initiatives require support from our community! China Institute holds several major annual events: our Chinese New Year Gala on February 3 and our annual Blue Cloud Gala in the Fall.
This coming April 29 at our China Fashion Gala, we will recognize the iconic global brand Estée Lauder and Chinese investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist Wendy Yu. Chinese designer XIONG Ying will showcase her creations under the Heaven Gaia label for the first time in the U.S. which promises to be a visually spectacular component of this glamorous evening.
Since 1926, China Institute has been helping Americans know China better. However, the political winds may blow, we remain committed to serving as a platform for authentic and genuine knowledge and insight. Please join me for Lunar New Year celebrations and be a part of the bridge-building force that makes China Institute so important!
I wish you and your family a happy, healthy, and prosperous Year of the Rat!
James B. Heimowitz