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The Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis (CIUM) Is Selected as One of the Top Confucius Institutes in the World

For release: December 9, 2010
For press information, contact Riki Jackson, Assistant Director, Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis and Asian Studies and International Trade, U of M 901-678-2595

The Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis (CIUM) has been named one of the top six Confucius Institutes in the United States and one of the top 30 Confucius Institutes in the world.  The honor was announced by the National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (Hanban) in China. Hanban is the corporate headquarters for 322 Confucius Institutes and 369 Confucius Classrooms in 96 countries in the world. Hanban serves as the hub for all activity surrounding the promotion and teaching of Chinese language and culture for Confucius Institutes across the globe.

The selection for this designation was based on key components such as school partnerships, community involvement, leadership, development of key partners, enrichment programs involving the teaching and promotion of the Chinese language, cultural programs, innovative use of teaching methodologies, etc.

The U of M’s Confucius Institute was founded on August 13, 2007, under the direction of Dr. Hsiang-te Kung, a 75th generation descendant of Confucius. The CIUM opened its doors with two full-time employees in borrowed space at the University of Memphis. Today, the Institute has 26 employees in a spacious office on the 11th floor of Wilder Tower at the University of Memphis.

“It is an honor to be selected for such a prestigious award from among so many worthy candidates,” said Dr. Kung. “Currently, the CIUM is working with 24 partner schools teaching Chinese language and culture to over 3,000 students in public, private, and parochial schools in Tennessee.

“In addition, the CIUM annually offers Chinese summer immersion camps in Memphis, Chinese Summer Bridge camps for high school students to travel to China, Chinese Winter Bridge programs for school administrators to China, community programs, cultural programs, teaching workshops, and serves as a research center for Sino-U.S. relations, teaching, and cultural initiatives.”

The CIUM is a partner with the University of Memphis and Hubei University in Wuhan, China. “The leadership provided by Dr. Shirley Raines, University of Memphis president, and Dr. Chuanxi Wu, Hubei University president, has been instrumental in creating a successful foundation for the CIUM,” Kung added.

“Our program also includes an undergraduate program for students majoring in Asian Studies and International Trade (ASIT),” he said. “The ASIT program includes classes in international business, the humanities, and Asian languages, specifically Chinese and Japanese. One semester to study abroad in China is also a part of the ASIT program.”

“We have much to be proud of at the CIUM. We have a great team, wonderful students, and amazing partner schools across Tennessee. The future looks very bright for the CIUM.”

Additional information about the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis is available by phone at 901-678-2595 or online at

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