Just to be clear, this is communist China, which murdered 70 million of its own people and fought against America in the Korean War. Would WMU open a center for the study of German culture funded by Nazis?
Institute on Chinese culture, language to debut at Western Michigan University Monday
With music and dance, Western Michigan University will celebrate Monday the creation of its new WMU Confucius Institute, a program backed by the Chinese ministry of education to promote understanding of Chinese language and culture in the world.
The grand opening, free and open to the public, begins at 3 p.m. in WMU’s Dalton Center Recital Hall, featuring a photo exhibit, a choral performance, an ensemble of Chinese instruments and a Lion dance performance.
WMU’s Confucius Institute is intended to ramp up Chinese studies at WMU as well as bring language instruction and cultural knowledge to area K-12 schools through mostly extracurricular education.
The goals of Western Michigan University’s new Confucius Institute include:
Teaching Chinese language and culture to WMU students and members of the greater community.
Promoting international cooperation and exchange of students.
Collaborating with local schools and community businesses to train teachers and offer language and culture workshops, summer camps, fine arts events and travel opportunities. As part of helping WMU develop the institute, six language instructors from the Beijing Language and Culture University are here for a two-year immersion experience.
WMU’s institute is one of four in the state. The others are at Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Wayne State University. But there are several hundred Confucius Institutes worldwide.
“The idea through all of them, through different means, is basically to further understanding of Chinese history, Chinese language and Chinese culture,” said Donald McCloud, dean of WMU’s Diether H. Haenicke Institute for Global Education.
In July, McCloud, WMU President John M. Dunn, WMU Confucius Institute Director Xioaojun Wang were in China finalizing agreements to establish the institute and a related partnership between WMU and the Beijing Language and Culture University. WMU officials say the effort is sponsored by the Office of Chinese Language Council International of China’s Ministry of Education.
“This is a Chinese initiative,” McCloud said, likening it to the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright program, which offers international exchange opportunities for U.S. educators and students to study, research and teach elsewhere in the world.
“It’s (China’s) effort to spread knowledge of their culture and language,” he said.
McCloud, who recently met with Kalamazoo County school superintendents to discuss the institute, said the Chinese instructors will help develop educational programs with local schools that want to take part.