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Worldfest Student’s Home City Is Getting Worldwide Attention

Ninghua Wang belongs to a student organization that will be hosting a preview of the Summer Olympics at UC’s Worldfest celebration.

Date: 4/28/2008
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Andrew Higley
UC graduate student Ninghua Wang of Beijing, China, remembers the first time his city had bid to host the Summer Olympics, but then it was announced in 1993 that Sydney, Australia would host the 2000 Olympics. “I was 10 years old. It was a family event, waiting in front of the television at midnight to see if my city was going to get to host the games. We were disappointed. I went to school the next morning and everyone was quiet. No one wanted to talk about losing the bid to host the Olympics.”
Ninghua Wang
Ninghua Wang

In 2001, Wang recalls he had just taken his college entrance exam and was sitting in front of the television when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that Beijing won the bid for the 2008 Summer Olympics. “I jumped up and fell onto the floor. People were flowing into the streets. You can just imagine the excitement in the city, as drivers rolled down their car windows and asked people to go to the center of the city to celebrate. Over that 15-year period, I saw how a dream can come true.”

Wang continues to pursue his dreams a world away from home, as he works toward a master’s degree in geography at the University of Cincinnati, after previously earning a master’s degree from UC in electrical engineering. At the UC Worldfest celebration, Wang and the UC Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) will organize two booths for the Worldfest International Festival on Thursday, May 1, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., on McMicken Commons. One of the booths will feature Chinese food and the other will hold an exhibit on the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. The Olympics presentation at the CSSA booth at Worldfest will feature a photographic exhibit of the stadiums as well as Fuwa, the official Chinese mascot of the Olympic Games.

The CSSA will also continue another Worldfest tradition at the International Student Festival, providing traditional brush-writings of visitor’s names in Chinese.

The CSSA is one of 20 UC international student organizations and was founded more than 20 years ago on campus, according to the student organization’s Web site, which also states that the organization works “to provide a platform for all students of Chinese origin to interact and share the joy of Chinese culture and heritage, and to foster the understanding of China and its culture in the UC community.”

Amid recent Olympics-related protests making headlines around the world, Wang says he feels it is his responsibility to share his knowledge of Beijing. “I think that we need to emphasize that this should be a time of harmony, that this should be a peaceful environment for the Olympics,” he says. He adds that UC’s Worldfest is an opportunity for the international student community to come together, to educate and to celebrate different cultures.

Wang

Wang says his education at UC is also educating him about the Western world, which is what he set out to do when he left home to study overseas. He joined the CSSA in 2006, and says the organization has become his second family

Since coming to UC, Wang says he has been home to visit his family in Beijing twice and is amazed at how his home city has transformed. “A subway was built directly to Olympic Park to relieve the traffic congestion. Older people are learning English, to assist people who might stop them on the street and ask for directions.”

Wang adds that his mother, an official with the Bank of China, has spent the past two years overseeing the quality service of every bank in the region as they prepare to handle multiple currencies.

Wang’s father is an engineer, and he has an uncle who is a video news journalist who is looking forward to covering the Olympic Games when they get underway.

“This is a happy time for the Chinese people and the happiness will be doubled if it is shared,” he says.

Related: UC’s Worldfest Goes Green

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