UW News

April 29, 2010

Confucius Institute of Washington opens to support Chinese language, culture

News and Information

Opening ceremonies for the Confucius Institute of Washington, which will be housed on campus, were held this week.

The institute, which is a partnership between the UW and Seattle Public Schools with the support of the Governor’s Office and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, is being established to expand Chinese language and cultural understanding across the state.

“When China’s President Hu Jintao visited our state in 2006, I mentioned to him that I’d like to see a Confucius Institute here,” said Governor Chris Gregoire. “Before China would commit, our state had to prove that we could develop innovative programs to expand Chinese culture and language learning opportunities. I applaud the collaboration of business and education leaders who worked tirelessly to bring this institute here.” The governor signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Director-General of Hanban and Confucius Institute Headquarters Madame Xu Lin, UW President Mark Emmert and Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson in ceremonies at the UW.

“This is a great step in advancing our relations and educational opportunities with China,” said Emmert. “More Washingtonians will have an opportunity at an earlier age to learn Chinese and to become more proficient. It will bring the citizens of our regions closer to one another and help foster greater interaction. We’re very excited about what this means for our future programs with China.”

The Confucius Institute office will be located on the UW campus at the College of Engineering, which has hosted several of the UW’s exchange programs with China. The Confucius Institute Education Center will be temporarily located at Denny International Middle School this year. This fall, the Confucius Institute Education Center will be moved to the new Chief Sealth International High School/Denny International Middle School building.

At the UW, the Confucius Institute will support programs and web resources on Chinese language and culture coordinated by the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures and the Language Resource Center, as well as through the China Studies Program, East Asia Center, and the East Asia Resource Center at the Jackson School of International Studies. The Confucius Institute Education Center will house activities, classes for teachers and students, administrative functions and outreach to teachers, students, and the public during the afternoon, and some evenings and weekends.

Stephen Hanson, vice provost for global affairs, chairs the Confucius Institute board of directors. Karen Kodama, international education administrator for Seattle Public Schools, chairs the education advisory board for the Confucius Institute Education Center.

Confucius Institutes are a nonprofit initiative of the Hanban, the executive body of the Chinese Language Council International, a non-governmental and nonprofit organization affiliated with the Ministry of Education of China. Over 250 Confucius Institutes have been established around the world, with over 50 in the United States.