Skip redundant pieces
KU Home  :  KU News

KU News Release

More Information


University Relations

p (785) 864-3256
f (785) 864-3339
Dec. 23, 2008
Contact: Jill Jess, University Relations, (785) 864-8858.

Confucius Institute and its director recognized among world’s best

LAWRENCE — For the second consecutive year, the Confucius Institute at the University of Kansas was recognized as a “Confucius Institute of the Year” by the Chinese Language Institute. Executive Director Sheree Willis also was honored as a “Director of the Year.”

The awards were presented during the third annual Confucius Institute Directors Meeting held Dec. 9-13 in Beijing, China. Danny Anderson, vice provost for academic affairs, accepted the institute award on KU’s behalf. Willis accepted her individual award. Representatives from KU’s Chinese partner institution, Huazhong Normal University, were also present at the award ceremony. Twenty institutes and 20 directors were honored in all.

“KU’s Confucius Institute is viewed as one of the model institutes within the network, and a great deal of this recognition is the result of Sheree Willis’ outstanding leadership,” said Anderson. “Throughout the conference, she was called upon as a leader among the U.S.-based institutes. She brings creativity to the development of highly successful programs in language and culture, and shared ideas with other institutes regarding the development of programs and the effective selection and supervision of language instructors.”

There are about 249 Confucius Institutes in more 78 countries. KU’s Confucius Institute was the fifth such institute to open in the United States when it was dedicated in May 2006. The first four were located in Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York and San Francisco. There are now 53 institutes in the United States.

The institute serves communities, businesses, schools, government, nonprofit organizations and the media throughout the region by offering Chinese language instruction, supporting the training and professional development of Chinese language teachers and promoting outreach programs on Chinese culture. It is a cooperative project of KU, the Office of Chinese Language Council International of the Chinese Ministry of Education and Huazhong Normal University.

The accomplishments of KU’s Confucius Institute range from well-attended community language classes to corporate partnerships to distance-learning courses in Chinese for school districts throughout the state. The institute also has an ongoing partnership with global engineering firm Black & Veatch to provide seminars on Chinese language and business culture for executives and engineers.


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. | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045