UNC Charlotte will be opening a Confucius Institute in summer 2017 within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in the Department of Languages and Culture Studies.

The purpose of a Confucius Institute is to provide Chinese cultural and educational programming.

“This is a big deal. It’s going to be a highly visible entity in the University now,” said Nancy A. Gutierrez, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “One of the values and one of the goals of the College is increased internationalization.”

The opening is happening after another Confucius Institute closed in Charlotte.

“They saw Charlotte as a very important city to have presence in,” said Gutierrez.  “Even though the other institute was closing, I think they saw there were lots of opportunities.”

UNC Charlotte will be partnering with Shanxi University, a comprehensive university of arts and sciences located in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province.

Gutierrez said the institute will offer opportunities for students to study abroad and she thinks the Institute will be beneficial to UNC Charlotte.

“We have now another international partner and that’s always a good thing… This is also a really wonderful mechanism to reach out to the Chinese community… It also provides an opportunity for us to connect with partner institutions both in the United States and abroad,” Gutierrez said.

There are over 500 Confucius Institutes in the world and over 100 in the United States, including at North Carolina State University, the University of South Carolina and the University of Maryland and Michigan State University. Each has a Chinese university partner.

Provost Joan Frances Lorden traveled to China to sign the contract to co-found a Confucius Institute at UNC Charlotte.

On March 29, there will be a grand ceremony open to the public in McKnight Hall in the Cone University Center. There will be speeches and performances by students from Shanxi University. The 20 student performers will spend the following week touring the campus and city.

The Confucius Institute began in 2004 is overseen by Haban, which is similar to the U.S. Department of Education.

Alexandria Sands is the Niner Times' community editor. She is a senior majoring in Communication Studies with a double minor in Journalism and English. Sands' work has been published in The Charlotte Business Journal, Creative Loafing, The Gaston Gazette, The Shelby Star and The State Port Pilot. When she's not in the newsroom, you can catch her reading a book on Oak Island. Reach her at community@ninertimes.com or @alexsands_.