MTSU cemented a relationship with Hangzhou Normal University on Dec. 1, 2009, when President Sidney A. McPhee and Hangzhou’s president, Dr. Ye Gaoxiang, signed a partnership agreement at the Institute’s MTSU office in Peck Hall. In addition, Dr. Diane Miller, Executive Vice President and Provost, accompanied Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen on a trade mission to China in October 2009.
The pact covers the development of Chinese language classes, student and faculty exchanges, cultural exchanges, outreach programs to area K-12 schools, the training of educators to teach Chinese as a foreign language and research about contemporary China, among other mutual interests.
“The grand opening of our Confucius Institute is something that we have all been looking forward to since last fall,” says McPhee. “The official opening of this Institute is yet another step toward demonstrating MTSU’s commitment to enhancing the international programs on our campus and developing the kind of academic environment that speaks to our appreciation of other cultures as well as the diversity of our University community.”Faculty and students from Hangzhou Normal performed “An Oriental Monsoon” in MTSU’s Wright Music Hall. The program included classic Chinese dance, instrumental solos, opera pieces and more.
The Confucius Institute at MTSU is made possible with a five-year, $500,000 grant from the nonprofit organization of the same name. According to confuciusinstitute.net, “As of Oct. 2009, 396 Confucius Institutes and classroom have been established in 87 different countries and regions. Each Confucius Institute takes advantage of its unique character to develop rich and diverse educational and cultural activities.”