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Students Hold Asian-Themed Benefit On June 13 for China Earthquake Relief


Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services

(718) 997-5597

Maria Matteo
News Assistant
(718) 997-5593


--Evening Will Feature Music of Critically Acclaimed Performers; Silent Art Auction;Martial Arts Demonstration;
and Gourmet Food Reception--

FLUSHING, N.Y., June 6, 2008—Visiting downtown Flushing on the day when an earthquake devastated southwest China, members of Queens College’s Model United Nations Club saw acts that impressed them: Volunteers from the Tzu Chi Foundation were already collecting donations to help the victims. “We were inspired by their immediate response,” remembers Dewan Tarek, president of the Model UN group. “As citizens of the Queens College community and the global community, we felt a moral obligation to also assist the victims.”

The students approached Tzu Chi—a non-profit welfare organization—for guidance in developing their own outreach strategy. The result is an evening of Chinese art, martial arts, music, and cuisine at the college’s LeFrak Concert Hall on Friday, June 13, from 6:30 to 11 pm. General admission tickets will be available for $15 at the LeFrak Box Office, located inside the Music Building, at 5 pm the day of the event. All proceeds will go to the Tzu Chi Foundation to further relief efforts in China.

After opening remarks by Queens College President James L. Muyskens, the evening will feature a show of art—including landscapes, portraiture, still lifes, and sculpture—donated for the evening’s silent auction. The artists who created the pieces will be introduced and invited on stage to briefly discuss their work. Model UN club members solicited these contributions through the Asia Society, which provided them with a list of local artists and independent curators. Then the Tzu Chi Foundation will make a presentation, followed by a martial arts demonstration by monks from the Shaolin Temple in Flushing.

Next, the chamber ensemble Music From China will play its blend of traditional and contemporary Chinese music on Chinese and Western instruments. Described by the New York Times as “virtuosic and colorful,” the group commissions and performs works that extend Chinese music and instruments beyond conventional boundaries. Through its International Composition Competition, established in 1992, the ensemble has encouraged many emerging musicians to write for Chinese instruments. The evening will close with a reception featuring vegetarian, certified Kosher Chinese cuisine from the Buddha Bodai restaurant in Flushing.

“We take great pride in the initiative of these young people in planning this humanitarian event,” says President Muyskens. “Throughout the school’s history, our students have embodied the college motto, ‘We learn so that we may serve.’ As part of the rich tapestry of cultures and religions that co-exist on campus—located in the most ethnically diverse borough in the nation—this current group of young women and men organizers are true model members of the United Nations as they interact across cultures and religions to assist those in need.”

The Tzu Chi Foundation was established in 1966. Recently, it has coordinated relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina, the Pakistan earthquake, the south Asian tsunami and the Myanmar cyclone. As a registered charity in China, the group works closely with local government agencies, charitable organizations, and local volunteers to disseminate information on the current situation in the disaster region and assist with need assessment and relief operations. Over 60 tons of Tzu Chi-sponsored aid—including blankets, emergency care packages, food, and medicine—has been shipped to Sichuan via charter flights. For more information about this foundation, visit

The event is sponsored by the Model United Nations Club at Queens College, the Office of the President, the Office of the Vice President for Institutional Development, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Athletics Department, and the Chinese Students Association. Donations may be made beyond the event by visiting the Tzu Chi Foundation web site at

For directions to Queens College, visit


 Office Information

Deputy Director of News Services
(Position vacant)

(718) 997- 5597

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services
Queens Hall, Room 270B
(718) 997-5593

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