UAlbany Inaugurates Region’s First Confucius Institute
Members of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association perform the Lion and Dragon Dance to celebrate the inauguration of the Confucius Institute at UAlbany. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)
ALBANY, N.Y. (December 4, 2013) -- The University at Albany today announced the inauguration of a Confucius Institute, an educational center designed to promote Chinese language and culture to its students and to the region. The Institute will also help facilitate student study-abroad scholarships and funding for faculty-exchange activities.
Affiliated with China's Ministry of Education and Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), the institute will engage the campus and region in three areas:
• Chinese language classes for UAlbany and local high school students;
• Seminars and workshops on China's business environment for Capital District business professionals; and
• Academic presentations and classes regarding China's economy and history for the campus community.
"The new Confucius Institute will benefit not only the students and faculty at UAlbany and our partner university," said University at Albany President Robert J. Jones, "but also the Capital Region and upstate community."
The UAlbany Confucius Institute represents further development of a partnership with the Southwest University of Finance and Economics (SWUFE) in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. The new partnership with SWUFE was spurred by a catastrophic event five years ago.
After the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, SUNY and the Department of Education of Sichuan province collaborated to bring university students in the damaged area to New York to study for a year. Since the initial meetings, the University at Albany and SWUFE have negotiated a variety of joint academic and cultural programs. The Confucius Institute's directorship will include a Chinese director from SWUFE and an executive director appointed from the UAlbany faculty.
The University at Albany’s academic exchanges and joint programs with Chinese universities date back to the late 1970s. The first Chinese language courses were offered in the 1960s, and the University acknowledged the burgeoning interest in China by establishing a separate Department of East Asian Studies in 1990.
The University currently hosts more than 650 scholars and students from China, the single largest international group on campus.