Lunar New Year letter from China Institute President, James B. Heimowitz, to our community.
February 5, 2019 By James B. Heimowitz
Dear Friends of China Institute,
As we gear up to welcome the Year of the Pig, I wanted to take this opportunity to recognize what an incredible year it has been for China Institute. As the last animal in the 12-year Chinese Zodiac cycle before it resets, China Institute is also preparing to ‘reset’ as we continue with our bold, forward-thinking expansion plans for 2019.
As CI moves into its 93rd year (and fourth year in our Lower Manhattan facility) we are expanding exponentially — both physically and programmatically. We have successfully raised nearly $7.5 million in Phase II of our capital campaign. These funds will enable the next phase of build-out and expansion of China Institute. This includes more classrooms and an auditorium on the second-floor, and initial construction of ground-floor public space that will ultimately house the new CI Center for Contemporary China. New space means more capacity to advance our mission to increase cross-cultural understanding and engage with our audiences like never before!
This year, China Institute impacted increasing numbers of visitors through our pillars of education, business, arts and culture. The China Institute Gallery presented Art of the Mountain: Through the Photographers Lens, providing a contemporary look at the role of mountains in Chinese culture and mythology. To date, more than 10,000 visitors — including more than 2,000 local schoolchildren through our Discover China Through Art program— have experienced this striking and poignant exhibit.
China Institute hosted more than 80 public programs and member events, welcoming standing room only crowds to discussions covering a range of leading topics such as feminism, the environment, cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence, fashion and creative expression, the role of the artist, and many others, alongside experiences including film screenings, culinary tastings, neighborhood tours, musical performances and networking opportunities. We hosted international authors, influencers and leaders Kai-Fu Lee, Xue Yiwei, Zak Dychtwald, Mo Yan, Leta Hong-Fincher, Cixin Liu, and Gary Rieschel who shared unique perspectives to better understand China today.
Our Center for Business held numerous B2B forums, including: a Global Council forum with business icons Hank Greenberg and CI Co-Chair Yue-Sai Kan; an Executive Summit “U.S.-China Business in the New World Order,” featuring China Institute Gallery Director Willow Chang leads a group through an exhibit.
The School of Chinese Studies welcomed an all-time record number of students enrolled in classes as individuals and families alike responded to our broadened array of courses. Many hundreds of children and adults learned Mandarin, Chinese GO, calligraphy, poetry, Tai-Chi and mindfulness with our master educators. And the School’s commitment to professional development remains steadfast, holding numerous programs for teachers, including a trip for education leaders to meet with their counterparts in China.
We expect even more in 2019, as we look forward to expanding and launching new educational initiatives- the Film Society, Culinary Programs, Fashion and Design and Music at China Institute- to bring rich new facets of Chinese culture and creative expression to New York. We will continue to have signature major Gala events including our annual Blue Cloud Gala, Spring Fashion Gala and Chinese New Year.
As China Institute grows and expands, so does our Board of Trustees. We are delighted to welcome new Trustees Fiona M. Cibani (President, Ports 1961), John H. Foster (CEO & Managing Director, HealthpointCapital), Michael H. Krupa (President, Gemdale USA Corporation), Vivian Long (Director of Programs, Long Family Foundation), Robert Nederlander, Jr. (President & CEO, Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment), David J. O’Brien (Partner, and US Chair, Brand, Marketing and Communications, EY), and Peter B. Walker (Former Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company) to this distinguished leadership group.
Despite the current frosty U.S.-China environment, we embrace the Year of the Pig (traditionally viewed as cheerful and friendly) as an opportunity to serve as an important positive force in New York City, helping to thaw this icy climate by remaining true to our long-held mission. China Institute remains committed to helping Americans have a more nuanced appreciation of China through education, art, culture and business.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your participation and support. I wish you and your family a happy, healthy, and prosperous Year of the Pig and hope to welcome you to China Institute often throughout the year
James B. Heimowitz