Confucius Institute to open at Troy University

Posted: Wenesday, 11 October 2007

BEIJING, China – Gov. Bob Riley and Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. today announced the creation of the Confucius Institute at Troy University.

The non-profit center will expand Chinese language and cultural education, provide business and industry ties to China and expand the use of the Governor’s Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide, or ACCESS, program to Alabama high schools. The Confucius Institute at Troy University is the first such established in Alabama and the 25th in the United States.

“The Confucius Institute is an important step in the continued internationalization of Troy University. It will promote the understanding of Chinese language, history and culture to the students we teach and the communities we serve,” said Dr. Hawkins in a joint announcement between Chinese officials and the State of Alabama.

“On behalf of our Board of Trustees, I thank you for placing your confidence in Troy University. The Confucius Institute at TROY will be a source of pride for both of our great nations for generations to come,” he said.

The Confucius Institute at Troy University will be based on the Troy Campus and operate a satellite office on the University’s Montgomery Campus. Additionally, the Office of the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), the governmental office that administers the Confucius Institute, has similar institutes in 30 other nations. Hebei Normal University of Science and Technology, which already has ties to TROY, will serve as the University’s Confucius Institute host.

Students from the Peoples Republic of China currently attending Troy University account for almost half of its almost 670 international students. The University has pioneered international exchange programs, specifically the 1-2-1 Sino-American Dual Degree Program, which allows students enrolled in partner universities in the Peoples Republic of China to begin their studies at a home institution, transfer to the Troy Campus for two years of study, and return to their home institution to complete their coursework. At commencement, the students are awarded degrees from both their home institution and from TROY. Since the program began, the University has partnered with 53 universities in China and currently has 22 institutions with active students in the program.

Troy University already offers courses in Mandarin Chinese, and these courses will be expanded in the Institute’s first year of operation. A pilot Chinese I course offered online this year to high school students through ACCESS has 12 students and in January plans are being made offer it via videoconference. Also, the University’s graduate program in International Economic Development formally began this fall with five majors, and approval has been granted for the undergraduate program in International Economic Development. Plans call for the Institute to hire a director of Asian studies and a professor of Chinese economic development.

The state of Alabama already is home to some 2,200 companies that export goods and services to the Peoples Republic of China, which ranks as the state’s 5th largest export market. About 500 other companies in the state have the potential for partnering with Chinese counterparts in fields ranging from agricultural products to automotive components, education, training and agrochemicals. In 2005, the latest year for which statistics are available, Alabama exports to China reached $467 million.

The Confucius Institute at Troy University is slated to officially open in 2008. The Institute takes its name from the Chinese thinker, philosopher and educator (551BC–479BC) whose teachings had a profound influence on Chinese life.

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