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UBCI Honored as Confucius Institute of the Year

The University at Buffalo Confucius Institute (UBCI) has been named the “Confucius Institute of the Year” by Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters, which administers more than 500 such institutes worldwide.

Stephen C. Dunnett, vice provost for international education and chair of the UBCI board of directors, accepted the award on Dec. 10 at the annual Confucius Institute Global Conference in Kunming, China.

The award was presented by Liu Yandong, vice premier of the State Council, China, and chair of the Council of the Confucius Institute Headquarters.

The award recognizes UBCI for its efforts to develop programs to support UB research and teaching relating to China. Academic-focused programs supported by the Confucius Institute include scholarships and fellowships to study and conduct research in China; funding for conferences and symposia; funding for new China-related courses; master’s degree and teacher certification programs in Chinese language pedagogy in the Graduate School of Education; visiting professors to teach China-focused courses at UB; a lecture series featuring prominent scholars in the field of China studies from across North America and China; and annual contributions of books and online databases to the UB Libraries.

“This honor is a tribute to the leadership of UBCI’s late director, Professor Jiyuan Yu, who passed away in November after a long bout with cancer,” Dunnett said. “As director, Professor Yu worked tirelessly and effectively to expand the institute’s impact within the College of Arts and Sciences and across UB. I very much regret that he did not live to see the UBCI receive the award he did so much to earn.”

Dunnett also praised the contribution of UBCI associate directors Qiaomei (Maggie) Lu, who also attended the ceremony, and Bruce Acker.

He was accompanied to Kunming by Joseph Hindrawan, associate vice provost for international education and director of UB’s China programs. Also attending the award ceremony were representatives from Capital Normal University (CNU), UB’s Chinese partner in administering UBCI: President Gong Huili, Dean Liu Xiaotian and Associate Dean Han Mei.

UBCI was established in collaboration with CNU and Hanban in 2010, with the agreements authorizing UBCI being renewed in 2015. In addition to its academic focus at the university, UBCI’s other major projects include placing 15 language teachers from China in local K-12 schools for periods of two to three years; organizing an annual Chinese New Year celebration in the UB Center for the Arts in conjunction with the Chinese Club of Western New York; organizing performances and lectures for fall celebrations of the Moon Festival and International Education Week; and administering standardized Chinese language tests for students of all ages.