The Confucius Institute at San Diego State University was recognized as one of eight model institutes in the world at the Global Confucius Conference in Beijing this week, an honor that includes a $1 million grant to grow and improve the program.
During the conference, the institute also received a second honor. One of its Confucius Classrooms – from Barnard Mandarin Magnate School in Point Loma – was chosen as one of four “Confucius Classrooms of the Year” out of more than 500 classrooms worldwide.
The six arts of Confucius
“It is indeed a great honor for the SDSU Confucius Institute to be chosen as a model institute," said Lilly Cheng, director of SDSU's Confucius Institute. "We have fully infused the six arts – li, yue, she, yu, shu, shu – of Confucianism into our activities and will continue to strive for excellence based on this model.”
Confucius was a philosopher and educator who based his teachings on six arts that loosely translate into:
- Values or moral standards
- Music and performing arts
- Physical wellbeing
- Managing people
- Calligraphy or literature
The Confucius Institute at SDSU applies these six ancient arts in modern ways, promoting a multi-cultural, multilingual education.
A model institute
SDSU’s Confucius Institute was chosen as a model institute because of its extensive outreach both on campus and off. More than just teaching Chinese language, the Confucius Institute at SDSU infuses the cultural philosophy of Confucius into curriculum and activities including annual Asian film and heritage festivals as well as Chinese language and culture classes, speaker’s series and travel abroad and exchange programs.
The Institute has Confucius Classrooms in 23 K-12 schools in San Diego and Imperial County, as well as Riverside, Orange County and Los Angeles. These classrooms bring Chinese language and culture to hundreds of students including those at Barnard Mandarin Magnet School.
“For the Confucius Institute at SDSU to have been chosen as a model out of more than 400 institutes worldwide, is an extraordinary honor,” said SDSU Provost Nancy Marlin. “The world in which our students will be living and working will be increasingly international. Our Confucius Institute enables us to help prepare our students and students from many local schools in learning Chinese language and about Chinese culture.”
The Confucius Institute at SDSU was established in collaboration with the Office of Chinese Language International Council (Hanban), which is committed to making Chinese language and cultural teaching resources and services available to the public and to the promotion of cultural diversity and harmony. Through academic partnership with Xiamen University, the institute at SDSU aims to strengthen educational and cultural cooperation between China and the United States.
A plan for the future
Cheng is working closely with Hanban on plans to use the $1 million grant to furnish the SDSU Confucius Institute, refurbish two existing halls, create language labs, a tea garden and an outdoor “Confucius Corner” – changes that will take place over the next two years.