Adoptive Families Embrace Asian Culture

Article excerpt

The 2007 La Cultura series at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg will celebrate China, starting with a Jan. 13 dinner on campus.

The evening will include Chinese cuisine, master of ceremonies Rick Sebak, WQED's documentarian, and entertainment from the Organization of Chinese Americans Youth Performance Ensemble.

For the past five years, La Cultura's goal has been to promote global awareness and to help raise funds to send UPG students abroad to study. Lectures and a dinner focus on one country, and have included Italy, France, Spain, England and Greece. This year's lecture series is called "Visions of China."

Upcoming lectures include: Jan. 22, Dr. Monte Broaded, Butler University, "Does a Rising Tide Lift All Boats? Economic Growth and Inequality in China"; Feb. 12, poet Huang Xiang of Pittsburgh, "A Beast Drinking Wildly but Not Drunk: Huang Xiang, Poet of Freedom, in Performance"; and March 29, Professor Kong Ho, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, "The Influence of Chinese Culture and Philosophy on the Art of Kong Ho."

All events will be held at 7 p.m. in the Hempfield Room of the campus's Chambers Hall and are open to the public, said William Pamerleau, associate professor of philosophy and lecture committee chairman.

After the first few years of La Cultura focused on European countries, Pamerleau said students and faculty suggested the program needed to be more diverse. China was selected because of its global impact on culture and economics, he said.

For more information on the La Cultura dinner, or to make reservations, call 724-836-7497.

For three years, Amy Min Gong has taught Chinese language and culture to children born in China and adopted by local families.

Gong believes it is important for these children to know their heritage, and she teaches them Chinese music and dances, along with colors and numbers. Gong, who was born in China and came to America 20 years ago, teaches Mandarin, the most widely spoken of the Chinese dialects.

The Westmoreland Chinese School, held each Saturday at Westmoreland County Community College, attracts between 20 and 40 students and family members.

"I would like them to know the traditions and their backgrounds," said Gong. "These kids are very interested in where they come from, what they look like."

Gong brought some of those children to the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg Thursday night, where they performed dances with drums and ribbons and sang songs in Chinese.

Several area families who have adopted children from China addressed a group of students and community residents. …