AUBURN — The Auburn Public Library and 2019 Camden Conference have joined together to provide three programs on Chinese politics, education and culture. The programs all take place at the library and lead to up to the conference where the question will be asked, “Is This China’s Century?”

At noon Thursday, Feb. 7, Joseph W. McDonnell, a professor of public policy and management at the Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, will give an informative talk on U.S. policy towards China.

As China emerges as a major global power, it faces complex challenges in its domestic economic, social, environmental and political affairs and its relations with Asian neighbors, the United States and the broader international community. Chinese investment on all continents is both welcomed and regarded with some anxiety, while Chinese diplomatic intervention has been essential to stability on the Korean peninsula. McDonnell has published articles such as “How will Trump shape China policy?” and “Heart of trade battle with U.S. is China’s rising economic competitiveness.”

At noon Tuesday, Feb. 11, the library will host a book discussion on the non-fiction title, “Little Soldiers: An American Boy, A Chinese School, and the Global Race to Achieve.”

When students in Shanghai rose to the top of international rankings in 2009, Americans feared that they were being “out-educated” by the rising super power. An American journalist of Chinese descent raising a young family in Shanghai, Lenora Chu noticed how well-behaved Chinese children were compared to her boisterous toddler. How did the Chinese create their academic super-achievers? Would their little boy benefit from Chinese school?

Chu and her husband decided to enroll 3-year-old Rainer in China’s state-run public school system. The results were positive — her son quickly settled down, became fluent in Mandarin, and enjoyed his friends — but she also began to notice troubling new behaviors. Wondering what was happening behind closed classroom doors, she embarked on an exploratory journey, interviewing Chinese parents, teachers and education professors, and following students at all stages of their education.

The series of programs concludes at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, when the Confucius Institute will offer a lecture and hands-on tutorial on Chinese paper-cutting. The art of paper-cutting in China may date back to the second century CE. As paper became more affordable, paper-cutting became one of the most important types of Chinese folk art. Later, this art form spread to other parts of the world, with different regions adopting their own cultural styles. Because the cut-outs are often used to decorate doors and windows, they are sometimes referred to as chuāng huā, window flowers or window paper-cuts.

This program is in cooperation with the 2019 Camden Conference which will explore the question, “Is This China’s Century?” More information can be found on the Camden Conference at https://www.camdenconference.org/2019-camden-conference/.


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