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          UNF Launches Northeast Florida's First Confucius Institute
          作者:管理員    發布時間: 2014年12月09日 00:00   瀏覽:

          A prestigious Chinese language program will soon call the University of North Florida home. 

          Northeast Florida’s first Confucius Institute is opening on the college’s campus.  There are about 400 such institutes worldwide, all with the mission of boosting cross-cultural exchange and understanding between the U.S and China.  The launch is a collaboration between China's Office of Chinese Language Council International in Beijing, UNF and its sister college Shaanxi  Normal University in Xi’an, China. 

          "Confucius once said, 'education breeds confidence, confidence breeds hope, hope breeds peace'," UNF President John Delaney said. "Those are noble goals, and we're delighted to keep the teachings of Confucius alive and strong in Northeast Florida."  

          Delaney signed the partnership agreement with Shaanxi University’s Vice President Jianxiang Zhang Wednesday afternoon.  

          Across the country, the interest in learning more about the language and culture of the Middle Kingdom has been on the rise for the last decade, with the number of U.S. students learning Chinese at nearly 60,000. That's a more than 50 percent increase since 2002, according the University of Southern California's US-China Institute. Yet, it's still a far cry from the more than 300 million English language learners that China boasts.

          In a port city like Jacksonville, where the U.S. Census reports about 3,000 Chinese individuals reside, this emphasis is especially important, said UNF Economics Professor and Chinese native Lian An.  

          "If we can bring the language to the local community, I believe the cultural affinity will bring more international trade," she said. The Institute, which is being funded by UNF and China's Language Council, will provide a variety different language and culture resources from lectures and internationally-recognized language proficiency exams to community performances and study abroad opportunities. Funds will also go toward expanding and enhancing Chinese language learning program in Duval County Public Schools, which currently ranks as the largest in the state, according to UNF Interim Provost of Academic Affairs Earle Traynham. Beginning next year, teachers from the Institute will work in nine public elementary, middle and high schools in the district.
           "We’ll be working with Duval to help enlarge that program and also help train more teachers and get them certified," he said.     The launch of the Confucius Institute at UNF will be the fourth in Florida. Centers are also located at the University of South Florida, Miami Dade College, and the University of West Florida. You can follow Rhema Thompson on Twitter @RhemaThompson.

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