Campus: San Francisco State University -- December 8, 2005

SFSU Selected As International Site for Chinese Language Study

The Confucius Institute is one of four U.S. centers dedicated to meet growing demand for Chinese language classes

San Francisco State University (SFSU) has been selected as the first western United States home for the Confucius Institute, a Chinese language center with offices around the world dedicated to making Chinese language instruction readily available to anyone who needs or wishes to learn Chinese.

Driven by China's prominence in the world market, the number of people studying Chinese language in the United States has increased 20 percent since 1998 according to the Modern Language Association. Business professionals in particular have contributed to this demand. The demand in K-12 schools is also surging. Only 240 U.S. schools now offer Chinese but this number is expected to increase tenfold within the next few years.

The Confucius Institute Program was developed in Beijing by China's National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. The institute's mission is to promote collegial relationships with other countries and enhance understanding of Chinese language and culture through facilitating instruction. At this time 20 branches of the institute have been established in other countries including Australia, Sweden, Japan and Great Britain. The establishment of a branch at SFSU, places San Francisco among four U.S. cities to host the Confucius Institute. The other cities are New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. (based at the University of Maryland).

Three of SFSU's colleges will collaborate on Confucius Institute programs. The College of Education will train teachers and develop curricula. The College of Humanities will offer courses to matriculated students and the College of Extended Learning will provide classes to nondiploma students. The program will report to the Provost via the director of the University's Office of International Programs.

"Having the Institute here positions SFSU as a school that takes international study very seriously,"said Yenbo Wu, director of international programs at SFSU. "Providing our students, faculty and staff with international experiences, perspectives and competencies is a strategic priority at SFSU."

Contact: Denize Springer, (415) 405-3803;(415) 338-1665; denize@sfsu.edu


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