Confucius Institute established at the University of Oregon

EUGENE, Ore. -- (Jan. 27, 2010) -- The University of Oregon's International Affairs has established a Confucius Institute as part of a growing national and international trend to expand educational ties with China, promote Chinese language training and further intercultural understanding.

The UO Confucius Institute joins a network of more than 50 Confucius Institutes at U.S. universities and nearly 300 worldwide that have been established since 2004. Recognizing China's cultural, educational, economic, environmental, political and technological role in the world, the UO Confucius Institute will highlight activities related to four themes: Chinese culture across borders, Chinese futures/global futures, Chinese culture on a world stage, and China and global sustainability.

According to Bryna Goodman, UO modern Chinese history professor and executive director, the Confucius Institute's establishment will significantly enhance China-related programs and opportunities within the university community, and it will serve more broadly as a resource for Chinese language and China studies in Oregon. UO has nearly 400 international students from China, which is twice as many as from any other country in the world.

"The UO Confucius Institute will explore partnerships with Chinese colleagues and institutions and strive to enhance the understanding of Chinese culture and language across campus and in Oregon," said Goodman. "It will broaden campus awareness and interest in Chinese culture by fostering China studies workshops, lectures, film festivals and cultural programs, and lead to a deeper appreciation of China's global importance."

The UO Confucius Institute will officially open in fall 2010 with a focus on global China studies. In November 2009, UO President Richard Lariviere signed a Memorandum of Understanding executing an agreement with Hanban, the executive body of the Chinese Language Council International, to establish the Confucius Institute. The Council is an organization affiliated with the Ministry of Education in China. The University of Oregon partnered with East China Normal University in Shanghai on the development of the UO Confucius Institute.

"The establishment of a Confucius Institute, and the activities it supports, will further strengthen our relationship with China and will enhance our capacity to teach and do research on that critical region of the world," said Steve Durrant, UO vice provost for international affairs.

The UO Confucius Institute is supporting events for scholars and the community in advance of the official inauguration planned for fall.

The UO Confucius Institute will co-sponsor the showing and discussion of a film by Ivy Lin on Feb. 9, at 5:30 p.m. at the UO in Portland. "Come Together Home" follows the discovery of remains of early Chinese immigrants and their final journey from Portland to Hong Kong.

A workshop, "Infinite Worlds: The Cultural Biography of Chinese Classical Gardens," April 8 to 10 at the UO in Portland, will bring scholars from around the world to present research on Chinese gardens. The conference is in conjunction with events at the Portland Chinese Gardens and an exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art. The workshop is organized by Ina Asim, a professor in late imperial Chinese history.

The center is also co-sponsoring "Postcards from Tomorrow Square: Reports from China," a lecture by James Fallows, author and Atlantic Monthly national correspondent. During the talk, on April 21 at the UO in Portland, Fallows will discuss China's explosive growth and its ramification for America and the world. For the past five years, Fallows has lived in Shanghai and tracked the ideas emerging from China's economic boom and analyzing the new cultural life of the Chinese metropolis.

The Portland events are located in the White Stag Block, 70 NW Couch St. For more information, visit http://portland.uoregon.edu.

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of the 62 leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Contact: Julie Brown, UO media relations, 541-346-3185, julbrown@uoregon.edu


Source: Bryna Goodman, UO-CI director, 541-346-4825, bgoodman@uoregon.edu

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