Confucius Institute, Discovery Center host Sept. 2...

Confucius Institute, Discovery Center host Sept. 26 cultural event

The Discovery Center’s relationship with MTSU’s Confucius Institute will be formalized Friday, Sept. 26, at a day of entertainment and enlightenment.

Chinese Culture Celebration Day will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, at the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, 502 S.E. Broad St. in Murfreesboro. This event is free and open to the public.

 University Provost Brad Bartel, Discovery Center CEO Tara McDougall, Discovery Center advisory board members and top MTSU administrators will be among the dignitaries on hand for the 5:30 signing of a collaborative agreement.

“The two centers have worked together on a spring festival for the past three years,” said Dr. Guanping Zheng, Confucius Institute director. “However, the pact will enable the center and the institute to further collaborations and offer the community an opportunity to learn more about China.”

Since its inception at MTSU in 2010, the Confucius Institute has helped K-12 schools offer Chinese language programs, led students to summer camps in China and taken school administrators to China for educational collaboration and exchange.

The institute also offers noncredit Chinese language programs at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels for children and adults.

“We want to open the Confucius Institute to the community,” said Mike Novak, the institute’s assistant director. “This partnership will help in that extension. This will be a presence during school tours and for the general public.”

 MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee has established strong academic ties with China during his tenure as part of his goal to give the university’s students, faculty and staff a broader global perspective.

“We are pleased to celebrate not only the anniversary of the worldwide Confucius Institute program but our partnership with the Discovery Center,” McPhee said.

The centerpiece of the Sept. 26 celebration will be a digital cultural exploration station that features a 55-inch monitor. Patrons may touch the monitor to access interactive programs about sites of interest in China, food, music, kung fu, calligraphy, the Chinese zodiac and other topics.

“This is something I saw in my visit to China,” Novak said. “It was so engaging that I saw it in my mind at Discovery Center.”

The colorful monitor includes question-and-answer segments and video streams. Color printouts of the screen’s images will be available.

During the celebration, visitors will be able to enjoy Chinese music and dance, calligraphy demonstrations and Chinese tea tasting. There will be mini-Chinese classes at which visitors may learn some basic Chinese phrases and characters.

For more information about the Sept. 26 celebration, contact the Confucius Institute at 615-494-8696 or The institute’s web address is

— Gina K. Logue (