TROY – Officials from Troy University and the People’s Republic of China officially opened the Confucius Institute at Troy University today with a gala luncheon.
The Confucius Institute at Troy University, announced in a Beijing news conference October 2007, began operations at TROY in September, and is aimed at promoting Chinese language and culture and supporting local Chinese teaching through affiliated institutes worldwide.
“My favorite Chinese proverb states: ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.’ Today, Troy University takes an important step in our journey toward building the best Confucius Institute in the United States,” said TROY Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. “The road is long but I have no doubt that, working together, we will reach our destination.”
Dr. Hawkins said the impact of the Confucius Institute on the state of Alabama was limited only by imagination. Among his goals for the Confucius Institute at Troy University were expanding the use of visiting professors from China into each of the University’s five academic colleges, teaching Chinese language to “thousands of Alabama students,” using the Confucius Institute for economic development purposes and sending Alabama students to study in China.
The Confucius Institute at Troy University Alabama’s first and only Confucius Institute and is part of a global network of more than 200 similar institutes in 50 countries, and 54 in the United States. In addition to focusing on language, arts and culture, the Institute also provides a springboard for business exchange with China.
Its first students, taught by Confucius Institute at Troy University director Dr. Iris Xu, and visiting professors Li Chenghao and Fan Xuerong, both faculty members from CI partner Hebei Normal University of Science and Technology, are taught language, culture, arts and general Asian studies as a cohort group. About 30 students are participating in the inaugural fall semester.
In addition to the cohort of TROY students, the Confucius Institute conducted a three-day “Experience China” program in September that exposed more than 1,000 people – ranging from elementary school students to the University’s faculty and staff – to Chinese culture. The institute has also been involved in sponsoring calligraphy competitions, student recruitment efforts, and has established a “Chinese Corner” that offers a variety of events. Mr. Li, a scholar in the area of Chinese art, culture and digital design, currently is offering a 10-week Tai Chi workshop on the Troy Campus.
“The existence of multiculturalism is the foundation for the peace and development of the world,” said Hebei President Tang Shengling. “… Chinese culture, as an important component of human civilization, feels obliged to contribute to the diversity of human life and the peace and development of human civilization.”
Also on hand for the ceremony that included a luncheon, entertainment by students and faculty members and the unveiling of a statue, was Mr. Yan Xueqian, deputy director of the China Youth Center, College of Communication and Fine Arts Dean Dr. Maryjo Cochran, and State Rep. Alan Boothe, who presented a resolution commemorating the establishment of the Confucius Institute at Troy University.