The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Confucius Institute has been named a model institute by the Office of Chinese Language Council International, known as Hanban, a part of the Chinese Ministry of Education.
The honor, which recognizes excellence in teaching and promoting Chinese language and culture, has been bestowed upon about 10 of the 500 Confucius Institutes worldwide.
Harvey Perlman, chancellor and chair of the board of directors for the UNL Confucius Institute; Charles Wood, director of the Nebraska Center for Virology and director of the institute; and Ruiying Yang, professor at UNL partner Xi’an Jiaotong University and associate director of the institute, accepted the award Dec. 6 during the 10th Confucius Institute Conference in Shanghai.
“It was somewhat a surprise because we were asked to submit our information to be considered but were not told until the day we left Lincoln,” Wood said.
The UNL Confucius Institute, which opened in 2007, is located in Nebraska Hall on City Campus. It is the only one in the state.
Being a model institute could allow UNL to obtain support from Hanban for new programs and funding to renovate the facility, Wood said.
“We are also hoping to expand our institute’s teaching and cultural activities and partner more closely with both private and public sectors, and with other (Confucius Institutes),” he said.
The UNL Confucius Institute offers non-credit Chinese language and culture classes for UNL students, staff and faculty members, K-12 students and the general public; sponsors a Chinese Bridge Summer Camp each year for middle and high school students to spend two weeks in China; provides scholarships for UNL students to study abroad in China; trains K-12 educators in Nebraska to teach Chinese, develop Chinese curriculum and establish distance learning programs; and works with university and local groups to organize and sponsor Chinese cultural events and activities such as pingpong competitions, art exhibits, lectures, performances and movie festivals.