The China Center welcomed the Year of the Pig on February 7 with a Chinese New Year reception for China Center Advisory Council members and other supporters at the University’s McNamara Alumni Center.

Friends of the China Center braved the snow for a special performance by renowned musicians Gao Hong and Issam Rafea. The duo created improvisational music on two ancient instruments, the Syrian oud and the Chinese pipa.

Meredith McQuaid, associate vice president and dean of international programs, welcomed guests and reflected on the China Center’s past 40 years. Joan Brzezinski, executive director of the China Center, and David Pui, China Center director from 1994 to 1998, discussed how the relationship between the University of Minnesota and China has evolved since the China Center began in 1979.

Guests also heard from two scholarship recipients. Brian Norlander’s scholarship allowed him to study in Hong Kong, which inspired him to take a job abroad after graduation. Teng Man’s funding from the Hsiao Shaw-Lundquist Fellowship has supported his focus on engineering problems affecting both China and the U.S.

“The China Center has inspired dozens of exchange, cultural, and training programs that have benefited people on both sides of the globe,” McQuaid said. “The University remains committed to fostering these ties and stressing the importance of this cultural understanding.”