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Confucius Institute at the University of Minnesota named “Institute of the Year”

The Confucius Institute at the University of Minnesota was named a 2011 Confucius Institute of the Year by the Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters. Qijie Li, assistant director, accepted the honor on behalf of the Institute at a ceremony in Beijing, China, on December 12.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Minnesota was one of just four U.S. Confucius Institutes that received the award. Hanban supports nearly 400 Confucius Institutes worldwide and awarded 30 Institute of the Year honors in 2011.

“We are honored by this award and delighted that Hanban has chosen to recognize the good work of the Confucius Institute, the Confucius Classrooms and the Mandarin programs in Minnesota’s schools,” said Confucius Institute Director Joan Brzezinski. “We look forward to our continued collaboration with schools, administrators, students and teachers to bring Chinese language and culture to Minnesota.”

Institute of the year awardThe Confucius Institute at the University of Minnesota promotes the study of Chinese language and culture throughout Minnesota. It is a collaborative initiative between the University of Minnesota, the Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters, and Capital Normal University in Beijing.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Minnesota was honored thanks to its commitment to promoting Chinese language and cultural teaching programs among students from preschool to 12th grade. The institute was recognized for its efforts in increasing the number of students learning Chinese in Minnesota. The number of students learning Chinese in Minnesota has doubled since 2008 when the institute opened.  The institute was also spotlighted for organizing and administering the Youth Chinese Test in Minnesota’s Mandarin immersions schools, which achieved a 100 percent passing rate for levels one and three in 2011.

“The Institute [at the University of Minnesota] has accumulated unique and successful experience in developing and managing Confucius Classrooms [grants] and provides a brand new perspective in teaching Chinese language for children,” said the Hanban on its website.

The Institute provides language- and culture-learning opportunities for elementary students, high school students and business professionals and professional development and networking opportunities for educators. Its resource center houses an extensive collection of Chinese language textbooks and supplementary materials including workbooks, CDs, software and flashcards that are available to the public. There is also a selection of Chinese films, television programs and serials and many bilingual books about Chinese culture on topics such as Chinese cities, cooking, literature, travel and philosophy. Spring Chinese language classes will begin in February.