University of Liverpool launches Confucius Institute

Liverpool, UK – 22 October 2009: The University of Liverpool is to launch a Confucius Institute that will teach Chinese and promote understanding of Chinese culture.

The Institute – one of only 12 in the UK – will act as a hub for the Liverpool city region’s growing relationships with China, working closely with local schools, businesses and the community. Founded on the University’s existing base of Chinese language teaching, the Institute will be based in the University’s Management School, and will benefit from a dedicated resource area – including a library – in the University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning.

The Institute will be opened by Madam Lin Wenyi, Vice-Chairman of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, tomorrow (23 October) and will offer intensive courses for businesses, schools and the local community focusing on language skills and cultural awareness. The new library will allow those studying at the Institute to deepen their understanding of Chinese history, the arts, business practices and the contemporary challenges faced by China.

The Institute will provide support to the broad range of schools in the North West which already offer Chinese as well as support those wanting to introduce the language to their curriculum by providing teacher training and opportunities to learn about Chinese music, art and theatre. The University and Calday Grange Grammar School on the Wirral – one of the leading UK secondary schools for the teaching of Chinese – will also share their expertise.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Howard Newby, said: “We’re privileged to be able to establish a Confucius Institute in Liverpool which will promote better understanding of China and support the development of multi-culturalism in Liverpool. The creation of the Institute forms an integral part of our commitment to internationalise our research and teaching and strengthen our links with China.”

He added: “Our Confucius Institute will also help us to maximise our contribution to the Shanghai Expo 2010. We’re looking forward to enhancing our already strong relationship with China.”
Liverpool has already established a university in the World Heritage city of Suzhou, China, in partnership with Xi’an Jiaotong University. The University – Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) – is based in Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), near Shanghai, one of Asia’s most successful business parks and a hub for foreign investors, attracting 3,300 international organisations, including 77 Fortune 500 companies.

Supported by XJTLU, the University of Liverpool offers industrial placements to its students that enable them to spend a year working at an organisation based at SIP. The Confucius Institute will prepare students for their placements by equipping them with language skills and cultural understanding to help them make the most of their year in China.  It will also open up progression routes for students learning Chinese who want to follow degree programmes at Liverpool while continuing to develop their skills in the language.

The Institute – a partnership between the University, the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) and Xi’an Jiaotong University – will be supported by nine staff, including four teachers who will provide classes in Chinese at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

Notes to editors:


1. Members of the media are welcome to attend the opening of the Institute at 126 Mount Pleasant on Friday, 23 October at 10.30am. Please contact Sarah Stamper on the number below if you plan to attend.

2. Media are also welcome to attend the conferment of an honorary degree on Professor Jianhua Wang on Friday, 23 October at 3pm in the Leggate Theatre in the University’s Victoria Gallery and Museum. Professor Wang is Director of the Board of Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University and Chair of Xi’an Jiaotong University Council. A Professor in Electrical Engineering at Xi’an Jiaotong University, he is also Vice Chair of the Chinese Society of Electrical Engineering.

2. Mr YE Feng, Chairman of Suzhou Dushu Lake Higher Education Town Administration Office and Managing Director of Suzhou Industrial Park Education Development and Investment Company will give a lecture at the University’s Foresight Centre on Friday, 23 October from 3pm to 5pm. The lecture, which is open to the media, will focus on the Suzhou Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation Zone (SEIZ) and its plans to become the new ‘Silicon Valley of Technology’.

3. Liverpool started trading with China in the 1820s, when China was still under the reign of Qing Dynasty.  Early settlements by Chinese sailors in the nineteenth century meant that the city boasted the first Chinese community in Europe. 

4.  The University of Liverpool is a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive institutions in the UK. It attracts collaborative and contract research commissions from a wide range of national and international organisations valued at more than £93 million annually.

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