MONTGOMERY - The Confucius Institute at Troy University signed partnerships with Montgomery City Schools and Pike Road School officials today to provide Confucius Classrooms at Forest Avenue Academic Magnet School, Baldwin Arts and Academic Magnet School and Pike Road School.
Under the partnership, the Confucius Institute at Troy University, Alabama's only such center with a statewide mission, will provide instruction in the Mandarin Chinese language and in Chinese culture and arts. The Institute provided $20,000 grants to each school to help establish the classrooms.
"Today's partnerships are an important step on a long journey," said Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor of Troy University. "The Confucius Institute at Troy University was established in 2007, and in many ways, has served as the center of our internationalization efforts at TROY. Now, through these Confucius Classrooms, we are beginning to share these opportunities statewide. It is vitally important that our children have the opportunity to gain an understanding of the Chinese language and culture because understanding yields appreciation and appreciation yields relationships."
Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange called the agreements "a great step" for the schools systems and the communities.
"These Confucius Classrooms provide great opportunities for our children to learn about and understand other cultures," Strange said. "We are grateful to Troy University and its Confucius Institute for putting Montgomery, Pike Road and the State of Alabama on the world map."
Pike Road Mayor Gordon Stone said the Confucius Classroom will provide outstanding opportunities for the students of Pike Road School.
"We live in a world that has never been so connected," he said. "The Confucius Classroom will provide our students with the knowledge and understanding of the Chinese culture and will serve as a reminder to all of us that we do not live in isolation."
Margaret Allen, Superintendent of Montgomery Public Schools, said she was pleased with the opportunity presented through the partnerships.
"Because of our connectivity, the world is getting smaller and with that comes the opportunity for us to grow closer together," Allen said. "We are excited to be able to bring the Confucius Classrooms to Montgomery Public Schools. We have had an excellent partnership with Troy University's Confucius Institute with the Confucius Classroom program at LAMP, and we are please for the opportunity to bring the program to the middle school and elementary school levels."
Dr. Suzanne Freeman, Superintendent of Pike Road Schools, said she was grateful for the staff of the Confucius Institute at Troy University.
"We are so thankful for the Confucius Institute at TROY and what they do for our students," Dr. Freeman said. "They are like family to us. We know that our children are growing up in a very different world, and we are constantly looking for opportunities to help our students develop into global citizens. Our partnership with Troy University and its Confucius Institute is helping make that become a reality."
Established in 2007, the Confucius Institute at Troy University promotes understanding of Chinese language and culture and serves an economic development role in the state. The three Confucius Classrooms established through today's partnership agreements are among the six current such partnerships sponsored through TROY's Confucius Institute.