CAWM events were well-received by the media. Please check them out!
The Chinese Association of West Michigan (CAWM) is a non-profit cultural organization, serving the West Michigan region including the Greater Grand Rapids area, Holland, Muskegon, Grand Haven, etc. There are over 600 members in the organization as of March 2005. While most of our members are of Chinese extraction, we have members who are from other ethnic backgrounds. We welcome folks from various races and religious beliefs to be part of our organization.
Since its inauguration in 1991, the Chinese community in West Michigan has witnessed tremendous demographic growth. The Chinese population currently represents one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the area. Most of the CAWM members work in the high-tech industries, manufacturing, higher education, information technologies, biotech research institutions and international trade industries. More and more highly educated Chinese professionals are relocating to West Michigan. Presently close to 100 Chinese PhD professionals and 40 university professors work in the area. The VanAndel Research Institute alone has over 30 Chinese medical researchers on its staff. And the number of medical researchers will likely grow as the Institute is geared to roll out its plan for a Graduate School in the near future.
With China’s growing importance in global economy and increasing Sino-US trade and cultural exchanges, there is a growing presence of Chinese culture and an increasing interest in the Chinese culture/language among the West Michigan community, esp. in the Greater Grand Rapids area. A key mission of CAWM is to advance cross-cultural understanding between China and US and between the Chinese community and the other ethnic groups, and promote the rich Chinese cultural heritage and traditions in the region.
One of the most influential reach-out events is the annual Chinese New Year Celebration Party Show. The two hour show offers a rich cultural feast to the West Michigan community by featuring unique cultural activities and a variety of artistic performances, including Chinese folk dance, chorus, solo, theatrical sketches, traditional Chinese instruments, ethnic costume show, and much more. The performance presents a beautiful combination of music, color, artistry and culture. 2005 was the fifth year CAWM has held the Chinese New Year event. With constant improvements over the years, this event has enjoyed increasing success, popularity and acclaim in the West Michigan community.
CAWM attaches high importance to language and cultural education as an integral part of its mission. The Grand Rapids Chinese Language School, as a subsidiary to the CAWM, meets every Saturday throughout the semesters. The school provides students in the community the opportunity to learn their native language and maintain their cultural heritage. The school also offers people from other linguistic and cultural backgrounds an invaluable opportunity to learn the Chinese language for business and personal purposes and get acquainted with the Chinese culture. Due to the increasing importance of China in global economy, the demand for the Chinese language/culture is on the rapid increase in West Michigan as well as in other parts of the country and the world. As a result, the Chinese school is witnessing a rapid growth in recent years. Currently the school has over 10 classes with an enrollment of close to 100 students. Our students range from 4 years olds to working adults.
CAWM also stresses the importance of making contributions to the local community and has been working closely with the local governments, education institutions, and other organizations to improve and enrich the lives of the community and make the community a better place to live.