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Arizona State University Partners With China's Sichuan University to Establish Confucius Institute in Tempe, Ariz.

2007-05-22 10:58 1058

BEIJING, May 22 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- A comprehensive effort to teach Chinese language and culture in Arizona's elementary and secondary schools is a major focus of a new Arizona State University-Sichuan University Joint Confucius Institute. A signing ceremony between delegations from both universities and China's National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (NOCFL) is scheduled for May 23 in Beijing.

"A great research university must focus on the needs of its immediate community, but must also be international in scope," says Michael M. Crow, president of Arizona State University. "ASU's Confucius Institute partnership enhances the university's global impact and also benefits the local community by expanding our knowledge of one of the world's great cultures and emerging economic powers."

The agreement is the latest in a series of initiatives ASU is creating with its sister university, Sichuan University, to implement a new higher education model with global engagement as one of design imperatives. The ASU-Sichuan University Joint Confucius Institute is designed to engage academic units across each of the universities.

The institute, to be located at Arizona State University's Tempe campus, will be committed to promoting Chinese language and culture studies to elementary, secondary schools and the general public in Arizona.

Initiative will include: collaborating on K-12 pedagogy for teaching Chinese language and culture; developing curriculum for heritage speakers of Chinese; linking K-12 schools with cultural resources in the community: museums, cultural centers, community groups.

It will become an integrated part of ASU and of the greater Phoenix community by working with several offices and academic units including the President's China Initiatives Office; the new School of International Letters and Cultures, and the Center for Asian Research, both in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education; and the Contemporary Chinese School of Arizona, a non-religious, non-political and non-profit school that teaches 445 students from the ages of 5 to 16 and provides classes in conversation for professionals.

"The presence of the Confucius Institute on campus will enhance and promote the teaching of Chinese language and culture to Arizona school children. We will have the opportunity to promote our engagement with ASU partner institutions in China and ensure the movement of students and faculty between China and Arizona," notes Deborah Losse, dean of the Division of Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

"We have a responsibility to prepare our students in Arizona for the global challenges and opportunities that lie before them, and to prepare them to be responsible global citizens. The Confucius Institute at ASU offers a unique opportunity to bring the world a bit closer to these students and to dramatically broaden their global horizons," says Anthony "Bud" Rock, ASU vice president for global engagement.

Additional information about Arizona State University's China initiatives is online at http://www.asu.edu/china .

The first Confucius Institute in the United States was founded at the University of Maryland in partnership with Nankai University, Tianjin, China, in November 2004. As outlined by the NOCFL, Confucius Institutes are devoted to promoting the study of Chinese language and culture. They take a number of different forms and execute diverse responsibilities, depending upon the needs of the region and the institute's role at the host institution. After a pilot institute in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in June 2004, the first Confucius Institute in the world was officially opened in November 2004 in Seoul, Korea Oceania.

Source: Arizona State University
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