March 5, 2009
Webster University Confucius Institute Celebrates Grand Opening at Old Post Office
Programs include Mandarin Chinese Classes for St. Louisans and Workshops for Missouri K-12 Public School Teachers
March 5, 2008 – St. Louis, Mo. – The thousand-year-old tradition of a Chinese Lion Dance, Shu Fa (calligraphy) artists and a modern-day guzheng– a 21-string musical instrument, highlighted the festivities as Webster University celebrated the grand opening of the Confucius Institute on Friday, Feb. 27 at the Old Post Office in downtown St. Louis. Council General, Peoples Republic of China, Huang Ping, vice president, Beijing Language and Culture University, Zhao Ming and U.S. Congressmen William “Lacy” Clay and Russ Carnahan were among the distinguished guests who attended the celebration.
Webster University President Neil J. George presided over the colorful festivities.
One year ago, the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), through the China National Office of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (HANBAN), announced the selection of 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. Through the Institute, Webster and its partner, the Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) are promoting Chinese language and culture in the St. Louis metropolitan area.
Highlights of the Confucius Institute planned activities during 2009 include:
· Modern standard Chinese (Mandarin) language courses for adults
· Beginning and intermediate Chinese language non-credit classes
· Teacher training and credential workshops for K-12 Chinese language teachers throughout Missouri in cooperation with Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
· Chinese culture classes on a variety of topics including;
o Chinese for business
o Chinese history and religion
o Tai chi
· Public access to Webster University’s 3,000 volume library that serves as a resource for those teaching and learning Chinese language
· Planning a 10-day trip to China, funded by the Chinese Ministry of Education, for a delegation of K-12 school administrators to visit Chinese public schools and learn more about China
· Organizing and promoting scholarships from the Chinese Ministry of Education for a three-week summer trip to China for 20 Missouri senior high school students
· Hosting two Chinese art shows
· Initiating a Chinese Film Week through the Webster University Film Series
· Opening a gallery of Chinese art and artifacts donated by the Jack and June Young estate at the Old Post Office
· Presenting lectures on Chinese issues featuring experts on Chinese culture, philosophy, economics and other topics of interest
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 distinguished institutes.