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Old Dominion University Welcomes New Confucius Institute Partnership

picture of Chinese cultural performersConfucius Institute opening ceremonies will include Chinese cultural performances

Old Dominion University will open a new chapter in its international portfolio with the introduction of a Confucius Institute partnership with Minzu University, of China, that is aimed at promoting cross-cultural ties with a country regarded as a critical trade partner of the United States and one of the world's fastest-growing economies.

The Confucius Institute at ODU represents a vital new component of the university's ongoing academic and community engagement efforts. Together with the ODU China Center, the Confucius Institute will form the umbrella organization under which all China-related initiatives in the university's colleges can be indexed and coordinated.

"As one of Virginia's most diverse campuses, Old Dominion University is honored to partner with Minzu University to open the Confucius Institute," said ODU President John R. Broderick. "The prestigious program will undoubtedly complement Old Dominion's long-standing focus on international education opportunities and preparing our students for success in today's global society."

Opening celebrations for the Confucius Institute at Old Dominion will be held beginning April 19 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center and will continue on April 20 with community events in Norfolk and Hampton.

The designation of a Confucius Institute is made by Hanban, Worldwide Headquarters of Confucius Institutes of China. ODU was recognized for its strong affiliations with the regional community, through its China Center and Institute of Asian Studies, in addition to having a strong College of Education program and Chinese language instruction already in place in the College of Arts and Letters.

With a total of only 70 Confucius Institutes awarded to American universities, the designation places ODU among an impressive peer group composed of some of the nation's top academic institutions. The Confucius Institute will be administered by China Center director Qiu Jin and housed in Dragas Hall, on ODU's Norfolk campus.

Confucius Institutes exist for three main purposes: to facilitate the instruction of the Chinese language at the host university and in public and private schools within each institute's geographic area; to impart knowledge of Chinese history, literature, the arts and other aspects of Chinese culture; and to create, through the promotion of language and understanding of China as a country, partnerships that foster mutual understanding between the United States and China.

Friday, April 19: Opening Celebration

7 p.m. - Big Blue Room, Ted Constant Convocation Center

Opening remarks will be given by ODU President John R. Broderick and Minister Counselor Fang Maotian, from the Office of Educational Affairs of the People's Republic of China's United States Embassy, as well as other distinguished state and local officials. The program will also feature Richard T. Cheng, a former Eminent Professor and computer science department chair at ODU and currently a member of the Committee of 100 - a New York-based nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that has a dual mission of encouraging constructive relations between the people of the United States and China and promoting full participation of Chinese Americans in all fields of American life.

During the ceremony, the official plaque for the Confucius Institute at Old Dominion University will be unveiled. Special performances by a martial arts group from the Capital University of Physical Education and Sports in China and folk singers and dancers from Minzu University of China will also be included in the program.

The opening celebration is free and open to the public. Please RSVP by April 15 to 757-683-3116 or www.odu.edu/ao/univevents (Event code: CI013). Parking will be provided at the 43rd Street parking garage.

Saturday, April 20: Chinese Cultural Performances at Larchmont Elementary School, in Norfolk, and the International Children's Festival, in Hampton

Larchmont Elementary School auditorium (12:30-1:30 p.m.): Watch colorful performances celebrating the opening of the Confucius Institute at Old Dominion University. The program includes children's songs performed by Larchmont Elementary students from the Confucius Classroom, folk songs performed by ODU students, an ethnic group dance performed by members of Minzu University and a martial arts demonstration performed by members of Capital University of Physical Education and Sports. Free and open to the public.

Mill Point Park, downtown Hampton (2 p.m.): Martial arts and folk singing/dancing performances by members of Capital University of Physical Education and Sports and Minzu University, respectively. The Confucius Institute at Old Dominion University is a sponsor of the 2013 International Children's Festival. Free and open to the public. For more information about the festival, go here.