On January 30, 2020, more than 70 friends and supporters of the China Center gathered at the Weisman Art Museum to celebrate the Year of the Rat, the beginning of a new lunar cycle, and their shared efforts in building U.S.-China bridges.

This Chinese New Year is an exceptional one for many Chinese international students and community members, as the coronavirus outbreak has impacted many families’ New Year celebrations. To acknowledge this challenging time, the China Center invited Jill DeBoer, director of the Health Emergency Response Office, and Barbara Kappler, assistant dean of International Student and Scholar Services, to speak about the University of Minnesota’s response to the coronavirus. China Center Executive Director Joan Brzezinski and Associate Vice President and Dean of International Programs Meredith McQuaid also welcomed guests and delivered remarks.

The highlight of the evening was a visit from Governor Tim Walz. Governor Walz expressed his gratitude towards Chinese international students studying in Minnesota, and discussed his own experience teaching in China, his experience serving on the China Commission in the House of Representatives, and the organization he founded to take students on educational trips to China. Governor Walz emphasized the importance of U.S.-China cooperation to address challenges such as the coronavirus and climate change, saying, “The world demands solutions, and the two countries best positioned to be able to do that are the People’s Republic of China and the United States.”

The China Center thanks all in attendance for celebrating the New Year with us, and wishes a Happy Year of the Rat to all!