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UNH and Chinese Officials Partner to Launch the University of New Hampshire Confucius Institute

By Erika Mantz, Media Relations
September 22, 2010

UNH and Chinese officials will launch the state’s only Confucius Institute with a series of events Oct. 26-27, 2010. The nonprofit educational institution, which will sponsor classes in Chinese language and culture, will be housed at UNH.

“This new partnership with Chengdu University is an exciting part of our efforts to make UNH more diverse and international,” said UNH President Mark W. Huddleston. “We were very pleased to be accepted in the highly competitive selection process. At a time when New Hampshire exports products to more than 160 countries around the world every year, and with China as one of our top trade partners, we are proud to have earned the opportunity to provide the state with broader exposure to the Chinese language and culture as well as the skills needed to thrive in the global market.”

The Confucius Institute at UNH will officially open Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010, at a 10:30 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony in the Strafford Room of the Memorial Union Building. This ceremony will feature a variety of performances by visiting artists from the Sichuan Province in western China. Additional celebratory events include an art exhibit at UNH’s Museum of Art in the Paul Creative Arts Center. Featuring nearly 70 pieces of art on loan from the Sichuan Province and Chengdu University, the exhibit includes paintings by young artists, the famous “shu-jin” (Sichuan silk) known for its unique pattern and colors, embroidery of the Miao (an ethnic minority), calligraphy and paintings by two Chinese brush-painting masters. An opening reception will be held Tuesday, Oct. 26, from 5-7 p.m. and the exhibit will be up through Oct. 31. Admission is free. For hours visit www.unh.edu/moa and click on “Events.”

In addition to providing UNH students with access to a complete curriculum in Chinese with the addition of two visiting scholars from China, the institute will work with K-12 schools throughout the state and as well as with the other schools in the university system to help them establish Chinese language programs. Through distance learning, Chinese language classes may also be offered in the North Country and other interested schools. Chinese language, culture and business courses will be developed and taught for any individual interested in studying in China, and the institute will serve as a clearinghouse for cultural exchange opportunities.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for UNH and the state of New Hampshire,” said Institute Co-Director Yige Wang. “It will open many doors to relationships with China and strengthen the Chinese education curriculum at the university as well as K-12 schools throughout the state.”

As a result of the partnership, the leading members of the Sichuan Opera Theatre, Art School of Southwest University for Nationalities, Art School of Sichuan Conservatory of Music, Art School of Sichuan Normal University, the Golden Sands and Sunbird Performance Arts Culture Co. and the School of Performing Arts at Chengdu University will perform the music, dance, magic, martial arts, face mask changing and acrobatics of southwest China in a special performance at the Music Hall in Portsmouth Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20, $15 for UNH students, seniors and children.

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