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Confucius Institute Named Institute of Year

Public Relations
Posted: Tuesday Dec 17, 2013

Dec. 17, 2013

The Confucius Institute at the University of Pittsburgh (CI-Pitt, under which Saint Vincent College is a Confucius Classroom) has been named Confucius Institute of the Year by the Chinese Ministry of Education’s Office of Chinese Language Council International or Hanban.

Pitt was awarded a Confucius Institute charter in 2007, the first in Pennsylvania and among the first 20 established around the world. There are more than 400 Confucius Institutes worldwide, including 98 in the United States.

Dr. Tingting Guo is Saint Vincent College’s Hanban professor and Chinese director of the University of Pittsburgh Confucius Institute. She brings Chinese language and culture to Pennsylvania and Ohio through a network of 30 teachers she supervises.

Hanban-sponsored scholar-teachers teach Mandarin Chinese to students in grades K to 16 in schools throughout the region.

The impetus for Hanban establishing Confucius Institutes was to meet the worldwide demand for learning Chinese. The Chinese Ministry of Education was asked to develop a program modeled after the Goethe-Institut in Germany and the Alliance Française in France, except that the Chinese government decided to first establish them as affiliated with institutions of higher learning. The Chinese chose Confucius as the name not because of any particular link to Confucian philosophy but because they determined the name of the famous philosopher would be recognizable throughout the world.

The program brings in visiting scholars who are approved by Hanban and volunteer to teach in a particular foreign country. Hanban is the Ministry of Education division that oversees Confucius Institutes worldwide. Saint Vincent decided to partner with the University of Pittsburgh to develop a Chinese language program at Saint Vincent and throughout Westmoreland County. Saint Vincent became the first of several Confucius Classrooms under CI-Pitt, which include the Berks County school district and Dickinson College. In addition, partner schools with Chinese language programs under CI-Pitt include the A.W. Beattie Career Center in Allison Park, Upper St. Clair School District, Winchester Thurston School, John Carroll University, Valley School of Ligonier and many other public and private institutions.

The long-term mission of the Confucius Institute program is bridge-building to help countries understand one another as a first step to avoiding conflict and being able to work together and to develop a global economy that works for everybody.

According to Dr. Tina Philips Johnson, associate professor of history at Saint Vincent College and director of Saint Vincent College’s China Studies Program, Confucius Institute at Pitt was named Institute of the Year thanks in no small part to Tingting Guo’s hard work and collaborative efforts in bringing Chinese language and culture to Westmoreland County and across the state. The CI-Pitt delegation was in Beijing Dec. 6 to 8 to receive the Excellence Award at the 8th Global Confucius Institute Conference.

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Photo: The 8th Global Confucius Institute Conference attendees in Beijing, China. 

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