Note to Reporters: Photos from the trip to China are available with the news release at http://news.colostate.edu.
Colorado State University has signed an agreement with the Chinese to establish a Confucius Institute – an institution dedicated to enhancing understanding of Chinese language and culture.
The Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) in Beijing, China, hosted a delegation from Colorado State on March 20. Madame Xu Lin, chief executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters and counsellor of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, announced that CSU had been accepted to host the newest Confucius Institute funded by the Chinese Ministry of Education.
Competition for such institutes is intense: More than 300 Confucius Institutes exist in 90 countries, including more than 65 in the United States.
Jim Cooney, vice provost for International Affairs at CSU, and Xu Lin signed the agreement. Also in attendance from the university were Bill Farland, vice president for Research; former Gov. Bill Ritter, now director of CSU’s Center for the New Energy Economy; and Wei Gao, professor of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability and director of China Programs.
Colorado State’s Chinese partner for the Confucius Institute is Hunan University in Changsha, China. Hunan University, China’s oldest university, was founded more than 1,000 years ago and is one of the country’s most distinguished universities. Vice President Chen Shou and director of International Programs Zuo Quanwen represented Hunan at the Hanban ceremony.
“This is an important milestone for Colorado State University, the city of Fort Collins, and Northern Colorado because Confucius Institutes strive to engage the local community,” Cooney said. “The Confucius Institute will round out all the other China-related initiatives at CSU. This is an exclamation point to everything else that we are doing in China. And CSU’s China program is a model for integrating CSU faculty and students with our Chinese partners.”
The new institute will be located in an existing CSU building at 1413 S. College Ave. so that it is accessible to students and local residents.
Confucius Institutes are "devoted to enhancing the world’s understanding of Chinese language and culture, deepening the friendship between China and the rest of the world, and promoting global cultural diversity," Xu Lin said.
Cooney emphasized that the Confucius Institute at Colorado State may also be designated by Hanban as a "specialized Confucius Institute" focusing on water resources and environmental protection. This designation would involve more CSU faculty directly in China.
As part of its strategic plan, Colorado State is committed to growing areas of study that address global challenges and creating international partnerships to face those challenges. The university has sought like-minded institutions that share its vision and values for higher education in areas such as China, India, Mexico and Russia.
Colorado State has key strategic partners across China, Cooney said. Most recently, the university last summer established a Joint Research Institute for New Energy and the Environment with East China Normal University. In addition to East China Normal, other strategic partners include Hunan University, Northwest University for Agriculture and Forestry, China Agricultural University and Beijing Normal University.