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University Relations

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May 2, 2006
Contact: Todd Cohen, University Relations, (785) 864-8858; or Elaine Warren, Edwards Campus, (913) 847-8911.

Media advisory: Confucius Institute dedication Thursday; credentials required

WHAT: Dedication of the Confucius Institute at the University of Kansas, the fourth such institute to open in the United States. Other institutes are open at the University of Maryland, Chicago Public Schools and New York’s China Institute.

WHEN: 10:30 a.m. Thursday, May 4.

WHERE: Regnier (pronounced reh-NEER) Hall auditorium at the Edwards Campus, 127th Street and Quivira Road, Overland Park. Parking available on south side of Regnier Hall in lot off of 127th Street.

WHO: The event features Chinese Vice Minister of Education Wu Qidi (pronounced WOO CHEE DEE; refer to her as Vice Minister Wu), Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway. Event will feature formal remarks and presentation of official Confucius Institute plaque.

PUBLIC EVENTS: The dedication event is by invitation-only, but public seminars and performances will be in the afternoon and evening. The public events are free. A complete program is available online at www.confucius.ku.edu and is listed below.

MEDIA CREDENTIALS: Media must obtain official credentials to enter the auditorium for the dedication ceremony. To obtain credentials, media must provide:

• A letter on official letterhead giving names and positions (reporter, photographer, etc) for each media representative attending. FAX the letter to (913) 897-8490 by 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 3. Questions? Call Elaine Warren, director of public relations for the Edwards Campus, at (913) 897-8411.

• At the door of Regnier Hall, designated media representatives must present an official photo ID (driver’s license recommended).

MEDIA COVERAGE ARRANGEMENTS: The auditorium will be open for set-up at 8:30 a.m. An audio feed will be available, but stations should bring male and female XLR cables. There will be reserved seating for media. The ceremony will take less than an hour.

WHAT IS THE CONFUCIUS INSTITUTE?: The Confucius Institute at KU will serve communities, businesses, schools, government, nonprofit organizations and the media throughout Kansas, the Great Plains region and the United States by offering community-based Chinese language instruction, supporting the training and professional development of Chinese language teachers and promoting outreach programs on Chinese culture. KU’s Confucius Institute will occupy several offices in Regnier Hall and offer courses starting this fall. More information is available online at www.confucius.ku.edu.

WHO’S WHO AT THE INSTITUTE: Bill Tsutsui (pronounced SUT-soo-EE), professor of history at KU, will be the executive director. Nancy Hope, associate director of the Undergraduate Asian Studies Initiative at KU’s Center for East Asian Studies, and Sheree Willis, Kansas Asia Scholars China Program director for the Center for East Asian Studies, will be associate executive directors.

BIOGRAPHY OF VICE MINISTER WU: Vice Minister Wu Qidi, 58, is one of six education vice ministers in the People’s Republic of China. She was president of Tongji University when she was appointed vice minister in 2003. Her portfolio is primarily focused on higher education. She speaks English and German in addition to her native language.

A native of Zhejiang province in eastern China, she earned a master’s degree at Qinghua University in China and a doctoral degree from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. She was a university professor before being appointed to administrative posts.

PUBLIC DEDICATION EVENTS:

• A symposium, “China in Transition,” will be from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 4, at Regnier Hall auditorium.

The first session, at 1:30 p.m., will focus on Chinese language education in the United States and how 21st-century needs can be met. Keynote speaker will be Vivien Stewart of the Asia Society in New York City. Panelists will be Jan Heinen, Olathe School District; Bill Tsutsui, KU; Ke Changqing, Huazhong Normal University; and Crispin Williams, KU.

The second session, at 3 p.m., will focus on the importance of language and culture in business interactions with China and how connection with the world’s fastest growing market can be made. Keynote speaker will be Joe Patterson, a consultant and former Hallmark executive. Panelists will be Tailan Chi, KU; James Hipps, Black & Veatch; April Chiang, Kansas Department of Commerce; and Jeff Willis, China Leads, LLC.

The symposium is presented with the support of the KU Center for East Asian Studies, the Kansas Committee for International Education in the Schools and the Kansas Consortium for Teaching about Asia.

• Experiencing China: An Evening of Music and Dance will be 7:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 4, at Regnier Hall auditorium.

The show will feature traditional Chinese performing arts by the Kansas City Chinese Music Ensemble, the Le Yue Chorus and the KCCNA Dancing Group, with a special performance by Xu Ke, a virtuoso of the erhu, a stringed instrument.

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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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