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University Relations

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Nov. 15, 2005
Contact: Elaine Warren, Edwards Campus, (913) 897-8411.

Media advisory: China, KU tour potential Overland Park site of Confucius Institute

WHAT: Officials from the University of Kansas and the Consulate General of The People's Republic of China in Chicago are close to finalizing an agreement to establish a Confucius Institute at KU.

Plans call for it to be located in Regnier Hall on the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park. The KU institute would be the third Confucius Institute in the United States.

WHEN: The delegation will be available briefly at 11 a.m. today.

WHERE: Regnier Hall lobby, KU Edwards Campus,12600 Quivira Road, Overland Park.

WHO: Officials from the Consulate General of The People's Republic of China in Chicago: Bao Tongzeng, Counsellorial Consul and Director of the Education Office; Yuan Ji, Consul for Education; and Zhang Zhigang, Vice Consul for Education. KU officials: Bill Tsutsui, director of KU's Freeman Foundation Undergraduate Asian Studies Initiative programs and the Kansas Consortium for Teaching About Asia at the KU Center for East Asian Studies, and Bob Clark, vice chancellor for the KU Edwards Campus.

Background: After meeting with KU officials at the Edwards Campus, the group will observe a Chinese language class at the Shawnee Mission School District. Mid-afternoon, the group will tour the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art before returning to Lawrence, where they will dine with Chancellor Robert Hemenway. The group spent Monday in Lawrence.

Last month, KU Provost David Shulenburger -- in China as part of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' trade mission -- signed a cooperation memorandum with Ma Jianfei, deputy director-general of the National Office of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, representing the Ministry of Education. The agreement called for China and KU to "accelerate the steps" toward creating the nonprofit educational institute.

The KU Confucius Institute would sponsor Chinese language instruction, support the professional development of Chinese language teachers and promote outreach programs on Chinese culture. CIKU will serve communities, businesses, schools, government, nonprofit organizations and the media throughout Kansas, the Great Plains region and the United States. China plans to create 100 Confucius Institutes worldwide by 2010 to increase trade and tourism and to encourage better understanding of Chinese language and culture.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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