Thursday, December 13, 2012

Host a Guest Teacher/Study in China/Connect Internationally

The following information is provided by the American Councils for International Eduation:



The Teachers of Critical Languages Program (TCLP) places EFL teachers from

China and Egypt in U.S. K-12 host schools for an academic year where they

teach Mandarin or Arabic language and culture. TCLP provides teachers’

salaries, healthcare, roundtrip airfare, training, professional development

funds, and ongoing program support. Selected host schools also receive

access to grant opportunities to support language learning projects. For

more information, please visit **. To speak with alumni

about their TCLP experience, join an online

*Program Application Deadline:* January 23, 2013


The Educational Seminars Program provides short-term professional

development opportunities to teachers and administrators from around the

world, for 3 week reciprocal exchange programs (Brazil, Portugal) and 2-5

week one-way professional development programs (India, China). Educational

Seminars provide airfare, training, travel health care, and living costs.

Visit for updates and more information or email

*Program Application Deadlines:* January 7, 2013 (India); April 1, 2013

(Brazil, Portugal); TBD, 2013 (China)



The Intensive Summer Language Institute* *(ISLI)* *provides fully funded

fellowships for non-native speakers of Chinese who are teaching Chinese to

spend six weeks overseas studying intermediate and advanced-level Chinese

in Changchun, China. Fellowships are available to current K-12 teachers and

community college instructors of Mandarin Chinese, as well as to students

enrolled in education programs who intend to teach Mandarin. Participants

earn ten hours of graduate credit through Bryn Mawr College, and are

provided with peer tutors and roundtrip airfare. All travel and

study-related costs are fully covered. Visit ** or

email ** for more information.

*Program Application Deadline:* February 11, 2013



Thank you very much for sharing these opportunities with your networks! If

there are any questions about the Teacher Programs, please feel free to

share my contact information.


Alena Palevitz

Program Officer, Teacher Programs

American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS

1828 L Street, NW, Suite 1200

Washington, DC 20036

Tel: 202.833.7522

Fax: 202.833.7523

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Top Chinese Social Media Networks

Ever heard of Renren? It's the Chinese equivalent of Facebook. How about Sina Weibo? Think Twitter. Check out the link below, sent to me by Donna Pigg, USA's Director of International Student Services and Admissions, featuring the top Chinese social media networks:

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Chinese Culture for Kids

Peggy Delmas and Paige Vitulli
As Peggy and I were cooking Chinese food and developing an outline for an article describing art activities inspired by our trip to China, we toyed with the idea of extending an exploratory art day planned for a few children to one open to all children of the faculty and staff of our College of Education. Chinese Culture for Kids took place today and we thoroughly enjoyed sharing our knowledge and experiences with the children and adults in our college. Students from kindergarten to high school, moms, dads, and grandparents were all engaged in creating terra-cotta warriors from Model Magic and practicing calligraphy skills on mini canvases.

Dr. McGowan and Dr. Guest painting canvases
the color representing good fortune,  joy and luck.
Libby and Callie painting and sculpting.

Anna and Jay
Artists and moms!

Even a Dad :-) Thanks for painting and sculpting with us Andy!
Libby was a fabulous artist and assistant!
Grand daughter Corinne and Dr. Santoli


Corinne exploring with Model Magic.
Samuel sculpting his terra-cotta warrior.
Calligraphy symbols explained by Samuel.
Showing off Callie's fabulous art.

Corinne trying out the chopsticks and Chinese white rabbit candy.

Adding to the video via SMART Board
Kungfu Bunny 3: Counterattack (featuring “White Rabbit” candy): 6 minute animated video by a student in the Communication University of China’s College of Animation and Digital Arts
The kids loved this video and asked to see it again at the end of our activities - Peggy

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Two Fab Ladies

The title of this post is an homage to one of my all-time favorite cooking shows, "Two Fat Ladies," which unfortunately is no longer in production (alas one of the ladies has passed on). The two cooks were mature, generously proportioned  British ladies who rode around on a Triumph motorcycle and sidecar to picturesque locations in the UK where they cooked high calorie, high carb, highly comforting food with a heavy side of to-hell-with-it-all attitude.

Not that there are any similarities between the beloved "Fat Ladies," and Paige and myself. None really. Although the idea of the Triumph is very appealing.

Our growing collection of Chinese food ingredients. 

Yesterday we ventured back into the Chinese cooking lab (aka Paige's comfy kitchen), for a wholly enjoyable afternoon of noodles, cucumbers, and pancakes. In preparation I had the good sense to seek out an Asian market in order to find authentic ingredients for our menu. My Hoa Oriental Food Market on Azalea Road is fantastic! I could have spent hours perusing the aisles. Who knew there were so many varieties of rice and noodles?

Here are the recipes for what we cooked and comments on each dish:

Scallion Pancakes (frankly I chose this recipe because it was one of the less intimidating ones in Paige's Chinese cookbook collection). The recipe called for me to make a well in the flour and to add the water a bit at a time. Paige made fun of my flour volcano, then said it called to mind that creepy rock formation (Devil's Tower?) in "Close Encounters," which then turned into a revelation that as a middle-schooler she had been an extra in the evacuation scene in the movie, which was filmed in Bay Minette and at Brookley. Imagine that! The pancakes turned out to be tasty little morsels, though I would certainly roll them a bit thinner next time for more of a crunch.

Peggy's "Close Encounters" flour volcano.

Scallion Pancakes
Spicy Cucumber Salad. This was my favorite recipe. It is very simple, requiring the briefest of introductions between cucumber and hot peanut oil. The chile peppers give the dish a nice zing. This is a novel way to serve cucumbers.

Cucumbers seeded and
"cut evenly into batons the size of french-fried potatoes."

Cucumbers, peanut & sesame oils, and dried chiles.
Cold Spicy Chinese Noodles with Slivered Chicken (Paige's favorite). Probably the most fun dish because it required the spreading of cooked noodles on a surface to cool and the massaging of said noodles with peanut oil to keep them from sticking to each other. In other words, we got to play with our food. The very spicy sauce for this dish was deliciously flavorful and the sesame paste in it reminded Paige and me both of Thai food.


AND, lest anyone think this was all fun and games, while the noodles cooled and the pancake dough rested, we outlined articles and presentations based on our two wonderful weeks in China.

Then it was time to tuck into our excellent Chinese meal, eaten properly with chopsticks, I might add.

For our next foray into Chinese cooking we will tackle the wonderful world of dumplings!

Monday, November 5, 2012

South China Internship Program

Received this announcement today from Dr. Jim Ellis, our Director of International Programs.

If you're interested contact Dr. Ellis, or Mrs. Ana Burgany:

>>> 11/5/2012 7:47 AM >>>

Under a new grant from Ford Foundation, the Hong Kong America Center - a non-profit consortium of Hong Kong universities -is announcing the South China Internship Program (SCI) a national competition for 20 American undergraduates to participate in a low-cost, high-quality "tandem internships". The twenty American undergraduates will team-up with twenty same-age Chinese university students to spend eight weeks together in summer 2013 as interns in companies and NGOs in the booming Pearl River Delta of south China. The intern teams will work together in small teams on joint projects for their company hosts. Inspired by the 100,000 Strong Initiative, HKAC is looking for young Americans with strong academics and high motivation to explore their career potential involving China. Some knowledge of Chinese language is preferred. We kindly ask International Offices in American universities convey this information to eligible undergraduate students. The deadline for applications is January 14, 2013. Online poster, application form and full program information is at: Prospective applicants may contact Mr. Ray Tran of the HKAC at:

Thank you for alerting your students to this opportunity. We welcome all inquiries about the new SCI program.


Glenn Shive

Executive Director, Hong Kong America Center




Thursday, September 27, 2012

Apparently, China's "Great Firewall" is Permeable.

Prior to traveling to China, Peggy and I set up this blog and began posting our pre-travel China-related activities and plans - we even posted from the first leg of the journey in Atlanta. Neither of us anticipated being unable to access Blogger once we arrived in China (and Facebook for me). We were extremely disappointed for the short period of time we thought our communication with family, friends, colleagues, and students through daily blog posts was blocked. As we continued to develop and save posts, I decided to try publishing again and quickly realized that although I could not view the blog, from my iPhone or iPad app, I could post. (I contacted my daughter back home to confirm the posts were being published.) Thankfully we were back in the business of sharing the photos and descriptions of the fascinating country.

I came across the following article related to our desire to use social media in China and challenges.
Millions of Chinese pour onto Facebook, Twitter, report claims
New data estimates that Facebook has 63 million users in China and Twitter has 35 million -- in spite of strict government bans and censorship on social media.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Blogger Mobile App!

Trying out my newly installed Blogger mobile app. Paige, how proud of me are you?!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ai Weiwei: Artist, Activist, Teacher, Dissident

I've recently become aware of the work, and trials and tribulations, of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (pronounced "I Wayway"). He is described as the most documented Chinese public figure alive today. Mr. Ai makes art on a grand scale, and even when the physical dimensions of his projects are small, the statements they make are enormous.

PBS, my go-to for documentaries, has a great Frontline piece called "Who's Afraid of Ai Weiwei?" The documentary originally aired last year. You can find it here:

Mr. Ai has documented his life tirelessly, first on his blog, then on Twitter feeds after the Chinese government shut down the blog. He is admired by many for his ability to organize people into communities in China, as demonstrated through his efforts to get the government to release the names of the 5,000 children killed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. These efforts are highlighted in the Frontline documentary. I was amazed by the ingenious way Mr. Ai has of turning the spotlight on government censorship in China -- filming Chinese police filming him, audio recording a violent police attack on himself, filming the government's demolition of his new studio and claiming it as his greatest work art installation -- then putting it all on the internet for the world to see.

Mr. Ai's story is one worth following. Unfortunately, latest reports are that his passport is being held by the Chinese government, thereby preventing him from traveling to the U.S. for an exhibit of his art in Washington, or from starting a job as a professor in Germany. See this article in the New York times:

- Peggy

Chinese Cooking Lab

Paige & Peggy's Chinese Cooking Lab

We've been trying to get together since our return from China in May to experiment with Chinese dishes. Finally, on the last day of summer we spent a lovely afternoon in Paige's kitchen slicing, dicing, chopping, tasting, cooking, and brainstorming ideas for articles and presentations related to our excellent Chinese adventure.

By now you all know how much Paige likes to take food pictures. Although we didn't use the zucchini or brussel sprouts, they do add  nicely to the vegetable composition.

We finally found the time to try some of the recipes (or approximations) we enjoyed on our China trip!

Our menu consisted of: Szechwan Eggplant Stir-Fry, Fried Rice, and Dry-fried Green Beans.

Szechwan Eggplant Stir-Fry - an adaptation of a recipe Paige found on the Food Network web site

This is what five Asian eggplants look like when halved and sliced. But don't be alarmed. They cook down quite a bit.

Our modifications to the Szechwan Eggplant Stir-Fry:

We made some substitutions when we couldn't find exact ingredients called for. For this recipe we used toasted sesame oil, not dark. Rather than red chilis, a combination of a modest teaspoon of dried habanero chilis and three tablespoons of an unidentified red (Bell?) pepper -- see photo below,  "mystery red pepper." A bunch (10 to be specific) of green onions, not two. Three tablespoons of the sesame oil was not nearly enough to sauté the heaps of eggplant wedges that the five vegetables yielded. Instead we added more oil to each batch we sautéed. As you can see from the photo above, this recipe serves a LOT of people. We had enough for both Paige's family and mine to enjoy.

Dry-fried Green Beans I & II (both recipes combined)
"gan Brian si Jim dou"
From "Land of Plenty" by Fuschia Dunlop

Instead of ground pork we used cubed pork chop. We couldn't find the Tianjin preserved vegetable. Maybe someone can tell us where to purchase it in Mobile...We also nixed the elusive Shaoxing rice wine. No Sichuanese chilies or peppers, so we substituted the dried habanero chilies again.

Paige displays appropriately "puckered and wrinkled" green beans.

Mystery Red Pepper

Paige's Free-style Fried Rice

Long grain white rice
Cubed pork
Frozen green peas
Soy sauce

Here's our take on the dishes. The eggplant, which the Chinese seem to prepare a thousand delicious ways, was quite good, but not quite what Paige had in mind. I thought the peanut oil gave the dish a more peanutty flavor than I would have liked. We will continue looking for other eggplant recipes. The beans were fresh and toothsome, but the tiny amount of habenero pepper we added (the same amount as was added to the eggplant) packed more heat than either of us liked with our beans. We suggest toning down the pepper, or finding a milder variety, but otherwise this dish definitely rates a repeat. The rice was a  nice accompaniment, especially with the small chunks of pork, but Paige wants to include teriyaki sauce next time.

Until then, don't be a hungry ghost :) Indulge your craving for Chinese food.

- Peggy

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Great Firewall

I agonized over and delayed putting up the last two posts because of their political nature. I discussed with Paige and got her blessing in the belief of freedom of speech before adding them.

When we were in China, in the morning before we were to tour Tianamen Square, I tried to Google "Tianamen Square," to brush up on my history and make sure I had the facts straight (I remember as a college student watching the news footage of tanks rolling over student protestors). Lots of hits appeared on Google under the title of "Tianamen Square," but when I tried to click on any of them I ran into what the Chinese call The Great Firewall. Essentially this is internet censorship. The Chinese government blocks much information it doesn't want its citizens to to find, including websites like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.

In fact, The Great Firewall nearly prevented our own excellent adventure blog from happening at all. Paige and I were not able to access Blogger from within China via the internet. You can imagine our panic. However, the technology gods had our backs, and very fortunately the Blogger app that Paige had installed on her iPad allowed us to create and upload posts. The strange and nerve-wracking part was that we could not then see what we had posted. So we relied on you, our faithful blog followers, to reassure us via e-mail that you could indeed see all of our posts, and that yes, they did make sense!  
- Peggy

Chinese Students Harness Political Power of the Internet

There was a good story in The Chronicle recently about college students and their use of the internet to effect change:

"Experts say these characteristics are specific to the generation born after 1990, which is more independent and outspoken about its concerns with Chinese society. These young people are also China's first generation to grow up online, which means they are accustomed to seeking out information beyond China's borders—information the government frequently tries to block."

In many ways the content of this article is a continuation of the ideas expressed in the previous post about Liu Xiaobo.

- Peggy

Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Peace Prize Winner - 2010

This poem from Chinese scholar Liu Xiaobo came across my email recently. It addresses the events of Tiananmen Square and is quite moving.

Fifteen Years of Darkness
by Liu Xiaobo
translated by Jeffrey Yang

Before dawn at home in Beijing, 6/4/2004
Fifteenth anniversary offering for 6/4

15 years ago
a massacre took place at daybreak
I died then was reborn

15 years have passed
daybreak bayonets dyed red
is still a blade fixed in the eyes

15 years have passed
I still have nightmares of those departed souls
I see them soaked with blood
I write each stroke each line
as an outpouring of the tomb

15 years have passed
within the darkness of vanished freedom
I wait for the hour-hand to point to pre-
dawn's advent of the fifteenth anniversary offering

Tonight, in this city without altar
I hope the dead souls can see my eyes
and turn my watchful gaze into the flicker of a candle flame
Not the sacrificial spirit money for the ancestors
not the raging blaze that illuminates the cold night
but memory's nakedness
is like a bone that will not decay

15 years ago
martial-law troops besieged the Square
the military broadcast the order over and
over, a continuous transmission of gunshots and bloodthirsty news
A few hours before
the gathering crowds, the clamoring crowds
then in a blink the light was extinguished
people fled like a surge of quicksilver
leaving behind an empty void

Among the hunger-strike tents on the Monument
I gathered with the students and local residents
continuous gunshots rang out
bullets struck the Monument
sparks sprayed off the marble
I released an eye-flooding flash
broke an automatic rifle in half
though I can't break open the silence of the dark night

Facing an unpredictable fate
I stare dumbly into the darkness
unable to discern if the starlight abyss
is hell or paradise

15 years have passed
unexpected bloodshed has suffocated me
unexpected prisons have hardened me
I've become a thick stone
yield to the lashings of political terrors
expression hardened, frozen
always unchanged

From the massacre's bloodshed to harsh surveillance
the horrors of that night
have yet to move half-a-pace away
After the house-raid then handcuffs
after handcuffs then prison
after prison then the police sentry at my building's gate
A personal shadow
interrogates our houseguests
Phones tapped
mail vetted
all forms of communication cut off
Let me turn into a blind-and-deaf man
in the dark dark night
to resist the silence

Walls of a cell may confine the body
but no cell walls can restrain the soul

15 years have passed
a murderer's regime
forces one to desperation
A nation that tolerates a murderous regime and forgets the killed
forces one to deeper desperation
A survivor of the massacre powerless to demand justice for the victims
forces one to the deepest desperation
But in such desperation
remembering the departed spirits
is the only hope left

Let the darkness transform into rock
across the wilderness of my memory

You can learn more about Liu Xiaobo here:

- Peggy

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Connecting Communities with Chopsticks: Celebrating Chinese Culture through the Arts with Teachers and Students

While in China and on the last day of NAEA proposal acceptance, Dean Maryjo Cochran (from Troy University) and I developed a conference presentation proposal for the Spring 2013 National Art Education Association meeting. Because this proposal development was an impromptu collaboration in a Shanghai hotel, and on my iPad with tech access difficulties, I was not even sure the e-mail got through; I honestly forgot we submitted the proposal.

I was thrilled to be reminded yesterday that we will be able to revisit our adventure and share Chinese art, culture, education-related collaborations and initiatives taking place among educators and artists in China, the Confucius InstituteTroy University and the University of South Alabama. I feel confident my 10-day adventure, 4000 photographs, 80+ blog posts with Peggy, and lessons already developed and implemented in art education will serve us well in sharing ideas with conference participants.

"Dear Paige:
Thank you for responding to the 2013 NAEA National Convention Call for Presentations.  It is my pleasure to inform you that your presentation, Connecting Communities with Chopsticks : Celebrating Chinese Culture through the Arts with Teachers and Students, was accepted for inclusion in the program for the 2013 NAEA National Convention in Fort Worth, Texas, March 7-10.

NAEA received a record number of presentations this year and, once again, relied upon a scoring rubric for the peer review and assessment process.  The peer review process requires careful thought and consideration in terms of Content, Clarity of Purpose, Suitability/Relevance, Quality, and overall program balance.  The caliber of this year’s presentations was excellent—making the acceptance of just over 1,000 sessions (approximately 44%) highly competitive.  The average score for accepted presentations was 13 (out of a possible 15)."

Photo by Paige Vitulli

Please join us if you are in Texas this Spring!!