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New Orleans Community News

The Times-Picayune

Xavier University establishes Confucius Institute

By Tina Soong

Published: October 16, 2012

NEW ORLEANS (Oct. 16, 2012) — The Confucius Institute at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) opens this weekend as a partnership between XULA, the Hebei University, and the Office of Chinese Language Council International of the Chinese Ministry of Education (Hanban).

The grand opening of the CI at XULA will be held Oct. 19-20. The official ribbon cutting will be held in front of the St. Joseph’s Academic and Health Resource Center. Other scheduled events include a Presidential Gala (by invitation only) and free mini-workshops.

The primary focus of the partnership is cultural-educational exploration through the disciplines of education, pharmacy, art, and music as well as language instruction (Mandarin).

The Institute is committed to sharing knowledge to all who wish to learn about Chinese language and culture and building bridges between cultures. Hebei is the only comprehensive university in its Province and one of the first institutions in China to admit international students.

Confucius [551-479 BCE) was a prominent early Chinese educator, thinker, and political figure who advocated education, justice, ethical behavior, and social harmony in ancient China. The teachings of Confucius profoundly shaped the development of traditional East Asian civilization.

Attending the grand opening will be a delegation representing China, which includes Consul General Xu Erwen from the Consulate of China in Houston, and Professor Zhang Yiqun, Consul and Director of the Education Office; as well as five officials from Hebei University: Dr. Wang Fengming, Senior Vice President; Professor Shen Shigang, Assistant to the President; Professor Li Xiaoliu, Director of the Office of International Cooperation & Exchange; Dr. Tian Jianmin, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts; and Professor Liang Weige, Head of Foreign Affairs Section, Office of the International Cooperation & Exchange.

XULA is the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the nation and the first university in Louisiana to establish a Confucius Institute (CI) following a historic agreement endorsed by Hanban, the Confucius Institute headquarters in Beijing, China in December 2011.

Dr. Yu Jiang, director of the Xavier Confucius Institute, said he envisions the Xavier CI becoming a leading teaching, learning and resource center of China for students, educators, community groups, civic organizations, and businesses in the Greater New Orleans area. The CI will teach Chinese language, culture and economic development to XULA students and the community.

Jiang, who grew up in China’s Sichuan Province near Tibet, has been at XULA since May 2012. He came to XULA from Southern University at New Orleans, where he had been serving as an assistant professor of Museum Studies. Prior to that, he served as an assistant professor of art history at Florida Atlantic University and as a curatorial postdoctoral fellow in the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Under his leadership, the CI has already begun to organize a broad range of activities, including: teaching XULA students Chinese language, culture, and economic development courses; providing support, pedagogical training and certification of the Chinese language to K-12 school teachers; developing student/faculty exchange programs with partner schools in China; offering non-credit Chinese language and culture courses for professional and personal enrichment to individuals and groups; forming partnerships with local community groups and educational organizations; opening Summer School for students interested in learning US and Chinese cultures and traditions; exploring, documenting, and presenting the roots and achievements of local communities; offering customized workshops on Chinese business etiquette and communications to organizations; and providing consulting services about China’s market and business opportunities.

“The Confucius Institute aspires to collaborate with the entire Xavier community to prepare students to become global leaders,” said Jiang. “With foreign language skills and multicultural perspectives, our students receive quality education on their way to becoming highly competent professionals and leaders in society.” The CI also “aims to facilitate research activities and promote increased understanding between the United States and China,” Jiang further noted.

There are more than 300 CI’s worldwide with roughly 80 in the United States. Through the CI network, universities and K-12 schools receive substantial support in the development of Chinese language and culture programs. The Institute is named after Confucius (551-479 BCE), an educator, thinker, and political figure who advocated education, justice, ethical behavior, and social harmony in ancient China. The teachings of Confucius had a profound impact on the development of traditional East Asian civilization.

Xavier University of Louisiana is a private, co-educational institution offering a comprehensive liberal arts program and professional programs, including 38 undergraduate majors, five master’s degree programs and a doctor of pharmacy program.  Xavier is the only historically Black, Catholic university in the United States and draws students from 39 states, Washington, D.C., Guam, the Virgin Islands and 7 foreign countries.  For more information contact Xavier University of Louisiana, 1 Drexel Drive, New Orleans LA  70125, Phone: 504-520-7568, Fax 504-520-7933.

 
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