Learning about China through history and art


By Anne Marie Amacher

DAVENPORT — “China: The Awakening Dragon” will be a yearlong series hosted by St. Ambrose University to enlighten and educate people on the history, art and traditions of the world’s second-largest economy.

That will be accomplished through lectures, films, concerts, artistic performances and exhibits.

Ryan Dye, the university’s director of international education, said St. Ambrose picks a theme to focus on each year. Since the university strives to broaden its strategic plan of outreach to Asia, it has chosen China as this year’s focus.


“China is an obvious choice,” he said. “It is the fastest-growing economy. It is the second-largest economy and is expected to be the largest by 2050 most likely. It also is of strategic importance to the U.S. and many businesses.”

More important, he said, is for students to learn about China and establish relationships within that country.

St. Ambrose hopes to complete two educational partnerships with China by the end of the year. In the fall of 2012 that could mean up to 15 students from China attend St. Ambrose University.

Dye said he is fortunate that St. Ambrose has many annual lectures established on campus. That allowed him to fit lectures, artists and events related to China into the schedule for this academic year, with most of the activities being held on the St. Ambrose campus.

“We are becoming a more international campus,” Dye said.

The first event will be a panel on Catholicism in China, led by Janet Carroll on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Rogalski Center. Carroll is former director of the United States Catholic China Bureau.

Other highlights of the next year include:

An art exhibit titled “Red Memories” by Peter Tong Xiao which will be open Oct. 11-Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Catich Gallery of Galvin Fine Arts Center. Xiao is an art professor at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., whose art relates to his experience of China and being Chinese in America. An opening reception will take place Oct. 14 from 5-7 p.m. at the gallery.

Another lecture, focusing on Women and Social Justice in Post-Colonial Society, will be held Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Rogalski Center. Kwok Pui Lan, professor of Christian theology and spirituality, Episcopal Divinity School, will speak.

Later offerings include an art presentation with the Figge Museum of Art in Davenport, a book discussion, Chinese New Year celebration and a music ensemble.

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