John ThottungalMercury Staff
The opening of the new Asia Center will herald in an era of cooperation between UTD and developing economies of the East such as China, India and Japan, UTD officials said.
Previously, the well-established Confucius Center on campus, under the guidance of Arts and Humanities Professor Ming Gu, was the only platform that had brought the culture and traditions of China to students and faculty. Now, the Asia Center will be able to bring the culture and traditions from the rest of Asia to UTD, said Dean of Arts and Humanities Dennis Kratz.
The center opened on Sept. 28 with delegations from the foreign ministries from both China and India. Continuing with the introduction of the center to UTD, the Asia Center co-sponsored with the Confucius Center in bringing XueFei Yang, a classical guitarist, to UTD.
Yang played to a full house and stressed the importance of her music serving as a bridge between the West and the East. In addition, she played traditional Chinese folk music, often telling stories at the beginning of her songs.
Even before the official opening ceremony, the Asia Center hosted the Shishi-Odori dancers from Minamisanriku, Japan on Sept. 1 in the Clark Center as part of the 2012 Japan-America Grassroots Summit.
“UTD students should look forward to industrial and political leaders from different countries visiting the campus more frequently to speak and share ideas,” said Director of the Asia Center Monique Wedderburn.
Kratz said the opening of the Asia Center was one of the most important projects that he has been involved with for the past 15 years.
“With understanding comes respect, and with respect comes harmony,” Kratz said. “ The university should be a place where ideas and education connect people.”