University of Pittsburgh
July 31, 2007

Chinese Ministry of Education Awards University of Pittsburgh First Confucius Institute in Pennsylvania

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The Chinese Ministry of Education has awarded the University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center the first Confucius Institute in the state of Pennsylvania. Confucius Institutes comprise a network of international initiatives developed by the ministry's Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), and are dedicated to enhancing the understanding of the Chinese language and culture.

The Confucius Institute at Pitt (CI-PITT) is a cooperative project with Hanban and Wuhan University in Wuhan, China. There are 144 Confucius Institutes worldwide, with 22 institutes located in the United States.

Beginning in the fall, the Confucius Institute at Pitt will offer community-based Chinese language instruction, provide Chinese classes to high schools in the Western Pennsylvania region through classroom instruction and interactive distance learning, support the training and professional development of Chinese language teachers, and promote outreach programs on Chinese culture. CI-PITT also plans to develop a corporate language and cultural training program for local companies that are developing business partnerships in China.

Siddharth Chandra and Wenfang Tang will be codirectors of the CI-PITT, and Jiangbin Lu of the International Office will be the director at Wuhan University.

CI-PITT will work closely with other academic departments within the University, and with a variety of public and private entities to develop services for communities, businesses, schools, government, non-profit organizations, and the public in the region.