wku1 300BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (12/13/13) - The Confucius Institute at WKU received the Confucius Institute of the Year Award on Dec. 7 during the 8th Global Confucius Institute Conference in Beijing.

The prestigious award for extraordinary achievement is given to only 10 Confucius Institutes worldwide. Dr. Wei-Ping Pan received the award on behalf of the Confucius Institute at WKU. The award was presented by Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of the Peoples Republic of China, who spoke about the importance of this award.

More than 2,500 participants from 118 countries attended the annual conference. Currently, there are 433 CI’s worldwide, so the selection process is rigorous with well documented facts of exceeding the mission set forth by Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters.

Both WKU President Gary A. Ransdell and Dr. Pan, assistant to the President, presented and chaired special sessions during the conference. They discussed in detail the achievements and gave hints of what the future holds for the Confucius Institute at WKU.

First, during academic year 2013/2014, the Confucius Institute at WKU again received Kentucky Certification for 10 new teachers. In addition, WKU had a Hanban Volunteer Teacher’s return rate of 42 percent (15/36). The Confucius Institute at WKU is poised to offer certified teacher in the states of Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia for school districts seeking certified Chinese teachers.

Second, the Confucius Institute at WKU was selected as the site for the first ever 2013 Joint Meeting of U.S. Confucius Institute (Classrooms) Sept. 28-30. More than 260 people representing more than 85 Confucius Institutes were in attendance, including Madame Xu Lin, Director General of Hanban; Lu Kang, minister of Chinese Embassy; U.S. Sen. Rand Paul; Dr. Ransdell; and Dr. Yang Yongping, Vice President of NCEPU.

Third, the Confucius Institute “The Chinese Cultural Experience” was established to bring a new innovative and economic platform to Kentucky as it relates to the dissemination of the Chinese culture and language throughout the state. The mobile unit is a low cost economic recruiting and marketing tool, which will be transported strategically throughout the state of Kentucky to promote the Chinese language and culture.

Fourth, the Western iMedia project was heavily featured during the conference, and more than 600 participants visited the exhibit and discussed the project during the 8th Global Confucius Institute Conference in Beijing. The project is spearheaded by Kerry Northrup and was presented by Brieonna Logsdon and Hannah Murphy, is a multifaceted and detailed look into the Confucius Institute programs around the world by using visually enticing, intuitively explanatory infographic banners, which are digitally overlaid with mobile-accessed video articles.

Fifth, in April 2013, the Confucius Institute at WKU became an official testing site to administer the HSK test. In April 2013, 14 WKU undergraduate students took the test; of which eight of the students received a Hanban scholarship and will attend the Chinese language and culture classes at North China Electric Power University (NCEPU) in the spring of 2014. David Williams received a full, one-year scholarship at NCEPU.

Sixth, during May 2013, the Confucius Institute at WKU led its largest group of 80 to China at part of the two-week “2013 China Concert Tour” with more than 56 Symphony at WKU students and faculty who performed at four major universities in China (North China Electric Power University-Beijing, Beijing Language and Culture University, Hebei University, and North China Electric Power University-Baoding), in front of more than 6,000 individuals.

In conclusion, the Confucius Institute was approved and opened three affiliated Confucius Classrooms in the state of Kentucky during September 2013 in Barren County Schools, Simpson County Schools, and Bowling Green Chinese Learning Center (located at the Housing Authority of Bowling Green). In addition, in August 2013, Confucius Institute at WKU received an anonymous donation of $250,000. Of these funds, $50,000 has been earmarked to create a Chinese American Friendship Garden on the WKU campus, with another $25,000 being earmarked to provide scholarships to send more students to China. The balance of the funds to go toward an interest bearing endowment account, in which the funds will be used to continue to support student travel to China on an ongoing basis.

The CI at WKU and Hanban, China’s Ministry of Education, work to promote understanding of the Chinese language and culture through children’s programming, training courses, cultural workshops and community events. Together, these organizations have Introduced fully articulated K-16 instruction in Modern Standard Chinese into local school systems, serve as a regional center for Chinese teacher training and Chinese curriculum development, and build connections and partnerships between Kentucky and China.

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