On September 15, history was made in Athens, Greece, as the first Taiji (Tai Chi) Health Center overseas celebrated its opening at a ceremony held at the University of West Attica.
The ceremony opened with a welcome speech from the President of University of West Attica, Konstantinos Moutzouris, followed by a speech from the Vice-President of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ph.D.Hu Hongyi. The theme of event was Taiji Promotes Health.
During the opening event, members from the Chinese Embassy in Greece and the Ministry of Health of Greece jointly unveiled the nameplate of Taiji Health Center West Attica University Branch Center, much to the applause of the audience, which was composed of practitioners and Qigong martial arts enthusiasts from China, Greece, France and Spain.
In press release for the event, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and West Attica University of Greece explained that “the formal operation of Taiji Health Center University of West Attica Branch (will) further strengthen the cooperation between the two universities in the fields of health, medicine and culture, and jointly promote the development of the people’s health” in both Greece and China.
“Taiji health is a state of life in which people adjust their body and psychology, enhance their morality and sentiment, and promote harmony and balance between individuals and groups, society and even the natural world under the guidance of Chinese Taiji theory and by means of Taijiquan, guidance, acupuncture, massage, Qigong, meditation and so on. Taiji health is the wisdom and technology from ancient China. It has a very long history and cultural tradition as well as ancient Greek medicine and Indian yoga.”Those in attendance to the opening ceremony of this ground-breaking event were treated to performances of Taiji practice by the first group of students to attend and complete the first-ever summer school program at the West Attica University Branch of Taiji Health Center.
Following the performances there was a graduation ceremony presented by Dr. Li Jie, Director of Shanghai Qigong Research Institute, and Prof. George Georgoudis, Director of the Musculoskeletal & Chest Physiotherapy Research Laboratory, University of West Attica.
During the graduation ceremony the first graduating class from the summer school program received their diplomas and posed for photos.
In addition, audience members were given the unique opportunity at this academic exchange event to learn more about the benefits of Qigong, acupuncture, and Taijiquan (Taiji) specifically in the fields of physical and mental rehabilitation, as well as self-healing, via lectures and presentations examining the different views on the application of traditional Chinese medicine therapies in the Western world.
There was also performances by a martial art team of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine which performed Chinese Kung Fu — and left the spectators mesmerized.
Cultural events and outlets such as the opening of the Taiji Health Center West Attica University Branch are becoming more common between the two countries as Greece and China are working to re-invent the network that once linked the two ancient civilizations via China’s “modern-day Silk Road” — The Belt and Road Initiative.
The Taiji Health Center West Attica University Branch is just one bilateral cultural exchange that China and Greece hopes to complete. As part of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative signed on August 27th, exchanges between the two countries are set to include initiatives regarding infrastructure connectivity, economic cooperation, trade and financial cooperation, as well as cooperation in the fields of people-to-people exchanges, culture exchanges and education, health events and integrations, sports, science, tourism, and more.
The opening of the first Taiji Health Center in Greece was supported by efforts from the Embassy of Greece in Beijing via its Press and Communication Office.