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   from the issue of October 18, 2007

Confucius Institute opening is Oct. 29-30


Nearly 20 Chinese guests, including about a dozen students, are expected Oct. 29-30 for events associated with the grand opening of the Confucius Institute at UNL.

Key public events during the celebration include a 3 p.m. concert Oct. 29 in the Sheldon Art Gallery Auditorium performed by student orchestra playing traditional Chinese instruments and the dedication of the institute at 9:45 a.m. Oct. 30. That ceremony will occur in the Van Brunt Visitors Center. The Institute offices in W205 Nebraska Hall will be open for tours from 9 a.m. to noon.

The UNL Confucius Institute is a non-profit public institute with a mission of promoting and teaching Chinese language and culture in Lincoln and the surrounding communities. UNL's Confucius Institute was established in April as the 20th Confucius Institute in the United States. More than 100 Confucius Institutes have been established worldwide by the Office of Chinese Language Council International, known as Hanban, a part of the Chinese Ministry of Education. Hanban aims to promote friendly relationships with other countries; enhance the understanding of the Chinese language and culture among world Chinese learners; provide a good environment for learning.

David Lou, UNL Ludwickson Professor of Mechanical Engineering, is Confucius Institute director. Other UNL employees of the institute are Rachel Zeng, associate director, and Joyce Young, office associate.

UNL's partner institution in China is Xi'an Jiaotong University in Xi'an. That institution has provided an associate director who will work out of offices both in Lincoln and Xi'an, Yuxia Song, and two Chinese language instructors to teach Chinese in Lincoln. They are Chungyan Ma and Lizhen Shi.

Dignitaries invited to the dedication include the chairman of the board for Xi'an Jiaotong University, a university vice president, an assistant vice president and two other officials. Additionally, representatives from Hanban and the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., have been invited.

Students from Xi'an Jiaotong will attend as part of a student musical band. They will perform a free public concert of traditional and contemporary Chinese music at 3 p.m. Oct. 29. They also will perform during the Oct. 30 dedication ceremonies.

The mission of UNL's institute includes teaching non-credit Chinese courses to university and K-12 students, interested members of the public, and others, especially families who have adopted Chinese children; preparing and certifying teachers of Chinese in K-12 and higher education; sponsoring academic activities and Chinese cultural events; advising individuals wishing to study, do business, or travel in China; offering educational reference materials; and partnering with public and private entities to serve communities, businesses, and schools. Among other activities, UNL's Office of Extended Education and Outreach will develop on-line credit courses in Chinese language and culture for Nebraska high school students.



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