At exhibit, UN Staff have their names written by famed calligrapher Xuzhong Tian

An exhibition of Chinese calligraphy opened at the Secretariat Lobby on Thursday, 12 June. It featured the works of renowned Chinese calligrapher, Xuzhong Tian, President of the Chengdu Academy of Calligraphy and Painting, China, who is famous for his cursive-style calligraphy and paintings of horses.

Xuzhong Tian wrote the names of UN Staff Members in calligraphy the day the exhibit opened.

The exhibit was organized by the Language and Communications Programme, Learning Section/OHRM as part of its year-long activities marking the 2008 International Year of Languages.

The high cultures of China are profoundly visual. The highest art is calligraphy, which is considered as an embodiment of the Chinese culture, and is deeply respected by Chinese intellectuals.

“It is, therefore, of great importance that students of Chinese at the United Nations, learn characters and calligraphy in order to learn more about China to achieve a true sense of cultural exchange,” states the Learning Section’s Chinese Programme, which has been organizing various activities to motivate staff interested in learning Chinese.

The Chinese Language Programme is currently running a course designed to teach students an alternative way to compose in Chinese. Students study how to use MS Office Chinese language input system, which enables them to learn and practice writing compositions in Chinese through the computer.

Weblogs online communication platform is also used to assist students going through the whole learning process. Students select a topic from the Programme’s bank of graded composition titles with associated vocabulary and expressions to complete a composition on the computer. The course is personalized in a way that allows the instructor to work with students individually, providing them with whatever help they may need in structure, paragraph development, vocabulary and grammar.

Another course currently being offered by the Section (open to delegates, Mission staff,, UN Staff Members and retirees) is Calligraphy and Character Writing. The course teaches students the unique beauty of Chinese characters and how to write them with a brush.