February 7, 2008
Chinese Government Selects Webster University for Confucius Institute
The government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), through the China National Office of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (HANBAN), has selected Webster University as the permanent site of the only Confucius Institute in the state of Missouri.
The Confucius Institute is a non-profit, public institute with the goal of promoting the understanding of Chinese language and culture, the acceleration of multiculturalism and supporting Chinese teaching internationally through affiliated Confucius Institutes around the globe.
Webster University is housing the 38th PRC-approved Confucius Institute in the United States. Webster is one of only four private universities in the United States to be chosen to host a Confucius Institute. Webster will partner with the Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) to promote Chinese language and culture in the St. Louis metropolitan area. BLCU and HANBAN will provide two Chinese instructors and thousands of library volumes for the Webster University Confucius Institute. The institute will be located at the University’s downtown St. Louis campus in the historic Old Post Office. It will open for programs, classes, activities and events in Fall 2008.
The Institute will bring language instruction for K-12 teachers, culture classes and numerous special events to the St. Louis community’s residents, businesses, schools and organizations with the goal of promoting Americans’ understanding of China, one of the world’s fastest-growing countries and largest economies.
Webster University President Richard S. Meyers considers the Confucius Institute an enormous honor for Webster University. “Receiving the Chinese government’s approval for a Confucius Institute is extremely competitive,” said Meyers. “We were chosen because of our quality and our continued demonstrated leadership in international education. I am extremely pleased to make this announcement today.”
The first Confucius Institute opened in Seoul, South Korea, in 2004. The following year, the Office of Chinese Language Council International, headquartered in Beijing, chose the University of Maryland to be the first U.S. university to open one of the institutes.