The University of Minnesota will open the state’s first Confucius Institute with a private ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 19 followed on Sept. 21 by a public concert of Chinese music, dance, puppetry, and magic by the Jiangsu Silk and Bamboo Performing Group of China.The Confucius Institute at the University of Minnesota (CIUMN) is a collaborative initiative between the Council for Chinese Language International (Hanban) and its partner university, Capital Normal University, in Beijing. The CIUMN will promote the study of Chinese language and culture throughout Minnesota, particularly in the K-12 system and the business community. The CIUMN is one of approximately 40 Confucius Institutes in the United States and nearly 250 worldwide.
“The opening of the Confucius Institute will deepen our exchange in China and is an excellent opportunity for the University and Minnesota,” said University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks. “China’s rising economic, political and social importance requires engagement with people in both countries to develop greater understanding.”
The university has a long and respected history of exchange with China beginning in the early 1900’s with the enrollment of the first Chinese students at the university. The state of Minnesota has had Chinese language programs in place for 30 years and leads the nation with five Chinese language immersion schools.
“The study of Chinese language and culture is a statewide priority and has also become a crucial part of our K-12 language programs,” said Commissioner of Education Alice Seagren. “Chinese language enrollment in our schools has risen 164 percent since 2002 and the addition of the Confucius Institute to Minnesota’s educational opportunities will help support this growing need.”
President Bruininks, state and University officials, and Chinese representatives will be on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony. The Confucius Institute will be located at the University International Center at 331 17th Ave SE in Minneapolis.
The concert will be held at Ted Mann Concert Hall at 2128 Fourth Street South, Minneapolis, at 7 p.m. Tickets are US$28, with discounts available for groups larger than eight. Call the Confucius Institute at 612-625-5080 for more information.