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Hemenway addresses Chinese audience on Voice of America

Chancellor Robert Hemenway recently answered questions directly from viewers across China during an hour-long Voice of America television broadcast. "Issues and Opinions," the longest-running TV program on VOA, reaches an estimated audience of 2 million Mandarin speakers and also is simulcast on shortwave radio.

"This is a chance to reach people across China and raise awareness of strengthening bonds between that nation and the University of Kansas," Hemenway said before the program. "I'm looking forward to answering questions and building more bridges with the people of China in the process."

While at the VOA studios in Washington, D.C., Hemenway also met with Danforth Austin, VOA director, and Jay Henderson, director of the VOA's East Asian and Pacific Division. Both are KU graduates.

Hemenway said he would highlight the long-standing relationship between KU and China.

In December, KU's Confucius Institute was named one of four 2007 Confucius Institutes of the Year in the U.S.

The designation is given by Hanban (the Office of the Chinese Language Council International). The institute opened its doors in May 2006 as a partnership between KU, Hanban and Huazhong Normal University in Wuhan.

Today, the Confucius Institute at KU has a staff of nine, including four visiting scholars and instructors from Huazhong Normal University. Classes in Overland Park and Lawrence offer four levels of Chinese language instruction in addition to classes for families with young children. In 2007, total enrollment was 191.

Last June, Hemenway lead a KU delegation to seven Chinese universities during a weeklong visit to develop study abroad destinations. Included in the trip was a visit to Peking University, considered the top university in China, as well as Huazhong Normal University, where Hemenway gave a lecture on the Harlem Renaissance.

Other KU-China connections include a 2006 Chinese language Internet broadcast of a KU men's basketball game, a visit to KU's Confucius Institute by the Chinese ambassador to the United States, Chinese language day camps offered to grade school children at KU's Edwards Campus and a Kansas City Chinese Film Festival to be held in March.

For the VOA broadcast, Hemenway responded to viewers' queries while listening to a simultaneous Mandarin-to-English translation. Hemenway's responses were translated back to Mandarin as he spoke. A Mandarin-language broadcast of the program wis available on the VOA Web site.

Voice of America is an international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government that broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of 115 million people.

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