TROY – Thursday's dedication of the Confucius Institute at Troy University will help to bridge cultural gaps and create partnerships that will bring China and the State of Alabama closer together, according to University officials and visiting Chinese dignitaries.
The Confucius Institute at Troy University, the state's only such center for cultural, language and business exchange with China, was established at the University in 2007 and was the 23rd institute in the United States. Thursday's ceremonies formally dedicated the Institute's permanent offices in Bibb Graves Hall.
"This is a big day for Troy University, our partner institution Hebei Normal University of Science and Technology and for the State of Alabama," said Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., TROY Chancellor. "Through the partnerships that have been and will continued to be developed through the Confucius Institute, the people of Alabama will be well served."
The Institute is one facet of the University's commitment to preparing students to compete globally, Dr. Hawkins said.
"At Troy University, we have made a commitment to ensure that our students are prepared to live, think and act globally," he said. "The Confucius Institute at TROY will enable our students and the people of Alabama to become familiar with the Chinese language, history and culture and also will provide an economic development component that will help to create relationships. Those types of relationships are vitally important within the Asian culture."
Consul General Xu Erwen, whose consulate in Houston, Texas, represents China in 13 states, including Alabama, commended Troy University for the leadership it has shown through the development of the Institute.
"I want to express my deep appreciation to Troy University and to Chancellor Hawkins for the leadership they have provided in establishing this most impressive Confucius Institute," Xu said. "This Institute represents a great opportunity for cooperation between China and the United States. Troy University is an internationally minded university and today's dedication is an important step in creating a bridge between the Chinese and American people."
Prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Dr. Tommy Bice, State Superintendent of the Alabama Department of Education, and Shuliang Guo, Deputy Director of the Education Department of the Hebei Province, signed a memorandum of understanding that will clear the way for partnerships and cultural exchanges.
"This agreement will allow for cultural exchanges for our teachers and students," Dr. Bice said. "It provides a unique opportunity for Alabama and will allow our students to be exposed not only to the Chinese language but also to China's rich history and culture. This partnership will enable our students to become more globally aware."
Thursday's dedication was one of the highlights of Alabama-China Week on the Troy Campus. The Alabama-China Education Symposium kicked off following the dedication ceremony in the Confucius Institute and will continue on Friday.
Highlighting the symposium on Friday will be a performance by third-grade students from Birmingham's Highland School, a Confucius Classroom site, and presentations on Confucius Classrooms by Highland Principal Kathryn Barr, and Mr. Steven Frost, who teaches Mandarin Chinese at Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School in Montgomery. The symposium will also hear a presentation by Jun Yang, vice-principal of Qinhuangdao New Century High School in China. Friday's symposium will be presided over by Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, Dr. Earl Ingram.
About the Confucius Institute at Troy University
The Confucius Institute at Troy University (CIT) is part of a global network of more than 204 Confucius Institutes in 50 countries, including 56 in the United States, developed by the Office of the Chinese Language Council International, which is headquartered in Beijing. The Confucius Institute at Troy University is dedicated to the promotion and development of Chinese language education, and cultural and business exchange with the People's Republic of China.