FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 14, 2010
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Dr. Guanping Zheng, 615-904-8365, or Yvonne Elliott, 615- 494-8696
CONFUCIUS INSTITUTE GRAND OPENING FEATURES MUSIC, DANCING MTSU, Hangzhou Normal University Partnership Facilitates Educational Exchange
(MURFREESBORO) – Middle Tennessee State University will celebrate the grand opening of the Confucius Institute (CIMTSU) on campus by welcoming a delegation from the People’s Republic of China and a performance by traditional Chinese entertainers on Wednesday, April 21.
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.
Among the dignitaries slated to be in the visiting delegation are Mr. Cui Pengfei, chairman of Hangzhou Normal’s university council; Mr. Chen Xiaoping, Vice Mayor of Hangzhou City; and Dr. You Shaozhong, Minister Counselor for Education Affairs, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States of America.
“The grand opening of our Confucius Institute is something that we have all been looking forward to since last fall,” says MTSU President Dr. Sidney A. 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.”
The dignitaries will be treated to a tour of the MTSU campus prior to a meeting of the Confucius Institute Board of Directors. At 5:30 p.m., McPhee, Miller and other local officials will dine with the delegation at an invitation-only banquet in the Tom H. Jackson Hall. At 7:30 p.m., faculty and students from Hangzhou Normal will perform “An Oriental Monsoon” in MTSU’s Wright Music Hall. This event is free and open to the public, but early attendance is advised due to limited seating.
The concert will include “Spring Outing,” a classic Chinese dance incorporating postures found in sculptural reliefs on bricks of the Han Dynasty; “Mulberry Trees,” an instrumental solo inspired by Li Bai, the most famous poet in Chinese literature; “The Drunken Beauty,” an aria from a renowned Beijing opera; “Spin, Spin and Spin,” a prize-winning folk dance in the tradition of the Xinjiang region; and much more.
“After several months of preparation, CIMTSU is now ready to offer services to the community,” says Dr. Guanping Zheng, institute director and associate professor of electronic media communication. “The future for the institute is exciting. Through the work of the institute, I hope to facilitate collaborations for exchange and collaboration between communities in Tennessee and in China. CIMTSU will also help our campus to expand its opportunities in China.”
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 its Web site, www.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.” For more information, contact Zheng at 615-904-8365 or email@example.com, or Yvonne Elliott in the Confucius Institute at 615-494-8696 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ATTENTION, MEDIA: For color jpeg photos of the performers of “An Oriental Monsoon,” contact Gina Logue in the MTSU Office of News and Public Affairs at 615-898-5081 or email@example.com.
With three Nobel Prize winners among its alumni and former faculty, Middle Tennessee State University confers master’s degrees in 10 areas, the Specialist in Education degree, the Doctor of Arts degree and the Doctor of Philosophy degree. MTSU is ranked among the top 100 public universities in the nation in the Forbes “America’s Best Colleges” 2009 survey.