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K-State Today

April 15, 2019

Confucius Institute staff present diversity project and practice at national professional conference

Submitted by Mary Pyle

Shijun Yan, associate director of the Confucius Institute, or CI, co-presented with Autumn Schuck, inspection manager from the Kansas Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Lodging Program, at the Consumer Food and Safety Education Conference 2019 in Orlando, Florida in early March. The conference attracted 1,500 attendees from organizations such as Federal USDA, FDA, CDC, local government officials, and other professionals. 

The presentation was titled "Create Diversity in Community Food Safety Education: Practice in Kansas." This project was based on a research program which was supported by the K-State Center for Engagement and Community Development and the Hanban, the Confucius Headquarters in China, over a two-year time period.

The Confucius Institute created a series of Chinese culinary workshop practices in partnership with the Kansas Department of Agriculture, K-State Research and Extension, the Chinese restaurant industry and professors in different departments/campuses at K-State. The project combines Chinese food culture and community relationship building, Community Food Safety Education together and it was in line with the missions of all the partners and K-State as a land-grant university.

"In the last two years, the CI organized many culinary events statewide with its community partners in Kansas City, Olathe, Manhattan, Wichita, Dodge City, For Hays, Paola, etc.," Yan said. "The CI promoted Chinese culture, the KDA inspectors gave Food Safety Education lectures, a local Chinese restaurant chef demonstrated their cooking skills, KSRE specialists played a key role as they coordinated kitchen and enrolled local community members. The organizer also conducted a pre and post survey to evaluate behavior changes."

"It was rewarding for me to share with conference attendees this unique community practice on cultural promotion and food safety education," Yan said. "Our Confucius Institute has been excited by the success of this partnership model and hopes that it serves as an inspiration to other communities."

"Our Center for Engagement and Community Development is very pleased to provide funding support for this important intercultural outreach and research project," said David Procter, professor of communication studies; director of Center for Engagement and Community Development and director of Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy. "The collaboration between K-State Research and Extension, the Confucius Institute at Kansas State University, the Kansas Department of Agriculture, and Chinese restaurant chefs not only promoted cultural awareness, but strengthened community food safety education. This campus/community partnership demonstrates the best of K-State's engagement mission."

Highlights of the presentation were:

  • How this culinary workshop presented by the K-State Confucius Institute introduced and created diversity in a community food safety education practice in Kansas.
  • How cultural elements significantly increased consumer food safety education engagement and education effect
  • How cultural events can help to build partnerships and solve real community problems and this program resulted in a positive community relationship building model.

Bryan Severns, manager of food programs and services at K-State Olathe, who is also a team member of the program, attended the conference.

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