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K-State Today

May 6, 2015



Kansas State University opens Confucius Institute April 7

By Max Lu

The official Kansas State University Confucius Institute plaque was unveiled at the end of the grand opening ceremony.

Kansas State University launched its Confucius Institute, the 102nd Confucius Institute in the U.S., on April 7 to an overflow and enthusiastic crowd.

Officials from Jilin University, the Chinese partner for Kansas State's Confucius Institute and also one of the most prestigious top 10 universities in China; the Chinese Consulate General in Chicago; elected officials; community and business leaders from across Kansas; and the university faculty and student community attended the ceremony.

During the Grand Opening Ceremony, a ribbon cutting and unveiling of the Confucius Institute plaque were performed by K-State President Kirk Schulz and Provost April Mason; Yang Zhenbin, professor and chairman of University Council at Jilin University; Liu Jun, Chicago Consulate Deputy Consul General; Marcelo Sabates, associate provost in K-State's Office of International Programs; Max Lu, Confucius Institute interim director; and additional presenters.

President Schulz called the establishment of the Confucius Institute "a real milestone in the Kansas State University's history." He said it shows that internationalization is a part of Kansas State for now, and will be for our future.

In her remarks, Provost Mason said, "Kansas State University takes very seriously the responsibility of preparing young people to take their places in the larger world around us. China now makes up about one-fifth of the human presence on our planet. The Confucius Institute will serve as a platform to promote a greater understanding between the U.S., China, and the state of Kansas through Chinese language teaching and learning, resident Chinese teacher preparation, and research on issues of mutual interest, whether that be food safety, animal health areas, and the global challenges that we face."

The Kansas State Confucius Institute will be classified as one specialized in animal health, food safety, and agro-security.

Throughout the day, highlights included presentations by Steven Wade, a Boeing executive; Jeff Wang, director of Asia Society's Education and China Learning Initiatives; Confucius Institute directors Joan Brzezinski, University of Minnesota, Deborah Trott Pierce, Webster University, and Sheree Willis, University of Kansas, as well as K-State's own China scholar, David Graff, associate professor of history.

That evening a Chinese Cultural Performance titled "The Sound and Color of China" marked the conclusion of the Grand Opening Activities. It featured the LeYue Performing Arts group from Kansas City, Missouri, and K-State faculty and students showcasing Chinese dance, song and fashion.

After the events concluded Jilin Delegation members indicated that this may be the best Confucius Institute grand opening they had seen. "I am confident that with the joint effort by Kansas State University and Jilin University, the new Confucius Institute will be successful and will serve as a bridge between our two universities and two countries," said Professor Yang Zhenbin.

To celebrate the Grand Opening of the Confucius Institute, K-State Libraries also featured a Chinese Culture Display in its Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies, and the K-State Student Union displayed a variety of Chinese artifacts in two glass cabinets.

Of the K-State's 2014-2015 academic year student enrollment, 2,247, or just over 10 percent are international students, including 925 Chinese students.