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Updated 9:00 AM September 7, 2009

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Confucius Institute at U-M will open in fall 2009

The new Confucius Institute at U-M (CI-UM) will open its doors in the coming fall term, with plans to advance China-related opportunities significantly within the university community, and to serve as the national resource on Chinese arts and culture for all Confucius Institutes in the United States.

The network of more than 60 Confucius institutes at universities around the United States — and more than 300 worldwide — seeks to strengthen educational cooperation with China, develop Chinese language education and increase intercultural understanding with the peoples of China. The network has developed in collaboration with the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) in Beijing, a branch of the Chinese Ministry of Education.

Unique within this extensive network, CI-UM will focus primarily on the promotion of Chinese arts, from the ancient to the modern, adding a substantial arts component to President Mary Sue Coleman's China Initiative, and advancing the university's global programs and initiatives overall.

"By its definition, and with the participation of our internationally renowned China arts and culture faculty, programs and artistic holdings, the Confucius Institute at the University of Michigan will be singular among its peers, an extraordinary resource to all within the university community and far beyond," says Lester Monts, senior vice provost of academic affairs. Recently designated a senior consultant to Hanban, Monts led development of CI-UM, and will remain engaged in the institute.

The CI-UM will host a number of faculty associates and stage a broad range of activities, such as:

• Short- and long-term residencies for Chinese scholars, artists, musicians, cultural exhibitions and performance groups, who will present, perform, exhibit, teach, mentor and share their artistic talents and vision with the university community, and reach out to the general public and area K-12 students.

• Substantially increased study-abroad opportunities for U-M students.

• Summer study-abroad exchange programs for Chinese and American honor students to participate together in cultural capitals such as New York and Beijing.

Forward-looking plans include creation of the Chinese Opera and Theatre Workshop, and development of a comprehensive, Internet-based Information Warehouse for Chinese Art Museums in North America.

Development of CI-UM fulfills key elements of Coleman's China Task Force, which recommended greater attention to the arts and humanities as emergent areas of opportunity for increased collaboration with China.

The CI-UM also will introduce an arts component to the collaborative work of the University Research Corridor, where Confucius Institutes currently exist at Michigan State University and Wayne State University.

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