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ASU partners with China’s Sichuan University to establish Confucius Institute in Tempe

May 21, 2007

A comprehensive effort to teach Chinese language and culture in Arizona’s elementary and secondary schools is a major focus of a new Arizona State University-Sichuan University Joint Confucius Institute.

Delegations from both universities and China’s National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (NOCFL) were slated to gather for a signing ceremony May 23 in Beijing.

“A great research university must focus on the needs of its immediate community, but must also be international in scope,” says ASU President Michael Crow. “ASU’s Confucius Institute partnership enhances the university’s global impact, and also benefits the local community by expanding our knowledge of one of the world’s great cultures and emerging economic powers.”

The agreement is the latest in a series of initiatives ASU is creating with its sister university, Sichuan University, to implement a new higher education model with global engagement as one of its design imperatives. The ASU-Sichuan University Joint Confucius Institute is designed to engage academic units across each of the universities.

The institute, to be located at ASU’s Tempe campus, will be committed to promoting Chinese language and culture studies to elementary and secondary schools, and to the general public in Arizona.

The initiative will include:

• Collaborating on K-12 pedagogy for teaching Chinese language and culture.

• Developing curriculum for heritage speakers of Chinese.

• Linking K-12 schools with cultural resources in the community, such as museums, cultural centers and community groups.

It will become an integrated part of ASU and of the greater Phoenix community by working with several offices and academic units, including:

• President Crow’s China Initiatives Office.

• The new School of International Letters and Cultures, and the Center for Asian Research, both in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

• The Mary Lou Fulton College of Education.

• The Contemporary Chinese School of Arizona, a nonreligious, nonpolitical, nonprofit school that teaches 445 students from the ages of 5 to 16 and provides classes in conversation for professionals.

“The presence of the Confucius Institute on campus will enhance and promote the teaching of Chinese language and culture to Arizona schoolchildren,” says Deborah Losse, dean of the Division of Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “We will have the opportunity to promote our engagement with ASU partner institutions in China, and to ensure the movement of students and faculty between China and Arizona.”

“We have a responsibility to prepare our students in Arizona for the global challenges and opportunities that lie before them, and to prepare them to be responsible global citizens,” adds Anthony “Bud” Rock, ASU’s vice president for global engagement. “The Confucius Institute at ASU offers a unique opportunity to bring the world a bit closer to these students, and to dramatically broaden their global horizons.”

More information about ASU’s China initiatives can be found online at

The first Confucius Institute in the United States was founded in November 2004 at the University of Maryland in partnership with Nankai University, Tianjin, China. As outlined by the NOCFL, Confucius Institutes are devoted to promoting the study of Chinese language and culture. They take a number of different forms and execute diverse responsibilities, depending upon the needs of the region and the institute’s role at the host institution.

After a pilot institute in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in June 2004, the first Confucius Institute in the world officially opened in November 2004 in Seoul, South Korea.