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Ceremony to mark establishment of Confucius Institute at Illinois

11/13/2013 | Sharita Forrest, Education and Social Work Editor | 217-244-1072; slforres@illinois.edu

[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN,Ill. — Officials from Jiangxi Normal University in Nanching, China, and the University of Illinois will sign an agreement establishing a Confucius Institute at the Urbana campus during an event Nov. 21 (Thursday).

The institute will be a unit within the U. of I. College of Education, which will operate the institute in close collaboration with International Programs and Studies, the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, and the Chinese language program, which is a unit within the department of East Asian languages and cultures.

A language testing and research facility will be a component of the institute, which will be housed in the Education Building at 1310 S. Sixth St., in Champaign.

The initial budget for the institute at the U. of I. campus includes $150,000 in startup funds from the Chinese Ministry of Education, which the university is matching with funds from the campus, the College of Education, and International Programs and Studies.

A board of directors comprising representatives from the Confucius Institute headquarters in Beijing, Jiangxu Normal University and the U. of I. will govern the institute.

Hua-Hua Chang, who is a professor of educational psychology, of psychology and of statistics at the U. of I., will serve as the institute’s director.

More than 300 Confucius institutes exist worldwide, including several at Big Ten campuses and other large research universities. China began establishing the public nonprofit institutes in 2004 to promote Chinese language and culture in foreign countries and facilitate cultural exchanges.

Representatives from the Chinese General-Consulate office in Chicago will be on campus for Thursday’s event along with a delegation from Jiangxi Normal University, including the university’s president, Guoping Mei; Tao Hou, director, department of international cooperation and exchanges; Yanhong Huang, deputy director, Office of International Programs; and Zhaosheng Luo, deputy director, College of Psychology.

Thursday’s ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. in Room 192 Education Building, followed by the signing of the agreement.

Chang and Mei will speak at the event along with Ilesanmi Adesida, the vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost; and Mary Kalantzis, the dean of the College of Education, both from the U. of I.

The event is free and open to the public.

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