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University of Memphis’ CIUM Awards Three Confucius Classroom Grants University News
For release: August 26, 2010

For press information, contact Riki Jackson, 901-678-3166

The Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis (CIUM) has awarded the Greeneville (Tenn.) City School system and Lausanne Collegiate School and St. Mary’s Episcopal School, both in Memphis, the prestigious Confucius Classroom grant. The grant is awarded by CIUM and the Office of Chinese Language Council International (HANBAN).

Confucius Classrooms are nonprofit educational organizations managed by local Confucius Institutes and by HANBAN, headquartered in Beijing. There are 337 Confucius Classrooms in 98 countries around the world.

Confucius Classrooms receive 1,000 books on Chinese language, culture, history, and art along with $20,000 worth of technology, start-up funds for Chinese language and cultural programs, and a full- or part-time Chinese language teacher if needed. Each prospective school must be in the research, development, or implementation stage of a Chinese language program. Applicants must be committed to providing a global education for their students in multiple ways, including an emphasis on the Chinese language and Asian studies.

“We are very happy to be one of the first members of the Confucius Classroom in Memphis,” stated Head of School Stuart McCathie at Lausanne Collegiate School. “Our school’s mission ‘to prepare each of its students for college and for life in a global environment’ is also endorsed by the International Baccalaureate (IB). With a very diverse student body representing 44 different countries and a curriculum that includes daily Mandarin classes in our Lower School and expansion into our Middle and Upper Schools, the Confucius Classroom is a very natural partnership for us.”

Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world. One-fifth of the world’s population lives in China. A recent New York Times story identified China as the world’s second largest economy behind the United States. Demographers predict that in less than 10 years Chinese and Spanish will become the two most widely spoken languages in the United States, surpassing English as the primary language.

“More than ever, it is critical that we prepare our students for a shrinking world and a global economy,” said Dr. Hsiang-te Kung, director of CIUM and the Asian Studies and the International Trade program at the University of Memphis. “There has also been a sharp increase in the world’s demand for Chinese learning as a result of China’s exponential economic growth. The CIUM is pleased to serve as a resource center for Chinese language and culture in the Mid-South.”

Dr. Lyle Ailshie, director of Greeneville City Schools, said, “We are honored to have been selected as a Confucius Classroom. The Greeneville City School District is committed to providing its student body with a well-rounded and rigorous curriculum that includes exposure to national and international perspectives. The implementation of a Chinese language program has been a tremendous boost to our schools. I commend the University of Memphis for developing a Confucius Institute as a way to help school systems produce students who are globally competent.”
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