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The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

In the Loop

UTSA Looks East

By the end of the year, UTSA could become the state’s third university to house a Confucius Institute dedicated to Chinese language, culture and history, in partnership with the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing (UIBE).

In March, officials from the Confucius Institute Headquarters in China approved UTSA’s application to establish the local center. An agreement must now be signed between UTSA and the institute before final approval can be granted by the University of Texas System Board of Regents. Only two other Texas universities have Confucius Institutes, the University of Texas at Dallas and Texas A&M University–College Station.

If a local branch is approved by the UT System Board of Regents, it will be part of UTSA’s new East Asia Institute, established in October 2008 to promote understanding of East Asian societies and culture through research, outreach, networking, education, student/faculty exchanges, and business development and cooperation, said Donald Lien, the Richard S. Liu Distinguished Chair in Business and director of the East Asia Institute. International businessman Richard S. Liu recently donated $2 million toward the East Asia Institute, making him the university’s largest individual donor. Through Liu’s Family Foundation, he has given UTSA a total of $6.3 million.

If the Confucius Institute agreement is approved, it could fund $100,000 yearly for up to five years for cultural programming, such as a Chinese film festival, martial arts demonstrations and Chinese orchestral performances, Lien said. To spearhead the program, the Chinese Institute Headquarters will provide 3,000 Chinese books and videos. Two Chinese language professors from UIBE also will teach Chinese language and culture classes at UTSA.

“The Confucius Institute will promote language, culture, society, business, politics—everything related to China,” he said. “We’re going to offer courses for our UTSA students, but also we’re going to offer courses for the community.”

There are 314 Confucius Institutes in a global network that includes 81 countries. The Confucius Institute Headquarters, located in Beijing and administered by the Chinese Ministry of Education, is a nonprofit educational organization.

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