Emory Report
March 24, 2008
Volume 60, Number 24

The institute will:
• Serve as a regional resource center for teacher-training and curriculum design

• Host a wide range of cultural and educational events open to the community

• Assist APS in developing Foreign Language Model Sites for k–12 Chinese instruction that can be replicated by schools statewide

• Offer classes in Chinese language and culture geared toward Atlanta’s business community, teachers, parents and the public

• Facilitate academic exchanges at all levels and in all disciplines between Emory and Nanjing University

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March 24, 2008
Emory, Atlanta Public Schools inaugurate Confucius Institute

By Elaine Justice

Faculty and administrators from Emory, Nanjing University in China and Atlanta Public Schools were on hand March 19 at Sammye E. Coan Middle School in Edgewood to mark the inauguration of a unique partnership: the establishment of the Confucius Institute in Atlanta.

The institute is the first in the state of Georgia and the only one in the nation to be jointly administered by a private university and a public school system. Its mission is to help introduce k–12 instruction in Modern Standard Chinese throughout the state of Georgia and foster knowledge of Chinese language and culture in the greater metropolitan Atlanta area.

Housed at Coan Middle School, the Confucius Institute in Atlanta is “designed to be a gateway to Chinese language and culture for individuals, families, communities and schools in metro Atlanta and the surrounding area,” says Rong Cai, Emory associate professor of Chinese Studies and the inaugural director of the institute.

“Our agenda is driven by two things only: to meet the needs of the local community and our commitment to meet those needs,” said Cai at the inaugural, where Juliette Apkarian, chair of Russian and East Asian Languages and Cultures, presided.

Speaking at the inaugural, President Jim Wagner said that Emory’s relationship with China dates to the 1850s. Students from China were among Emory’s first international students, he said, and Young John Allen, a member of the class of 1858, became one of the founders of modern Chinese journalism in Shanghai.

Today Emory has a growing interdisciplinary program in Chinese studies, faculty who are engaged in numerous research initiatives, visiting faculty from China, and students who travel extensively throughout East Asia, said Wagner. He and Provost Earl Lewis visited China in 2007 to launch a new joint project in medicine in Beijing and meet with Emory alumni there.

The Confucius Institute in Atlanta is funded with a renewable, three-year grant from the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), which is affiliated with the Ministry of Education of China. It is the 41st such institute in the United States.