University of Missouri’s Confucius Institute Brings a World of Good

Columbia, MO, August 30, 2012 --( Recently, the Confucius Institute (CI) at the University of Missouri (MU) marked its one year anniversary. This past year proved just how strong the CI’s bond with MU and the Columbia, Missouri community has become.

Like many Confucius Institute’s around the country, the CI at MU will offer Chinese language classes with K-12 schools. The CI has sponsored foreign language classes and after school activities in some of Columbia’s schools. Due to overwhelming community demand, the K-12 educational outreach program is to be expanded this coming school year. These efforts, however, are only a small fraction of what the CI does, led by Dr. Handy Williamson, Vice Provost for International Programs, and Dr. Wen Ouyang, Co-Director of the Confucius Institute.

The CI supported Missouri’s recent $4.4 billion dollar trade deal with China. The CI also brought world-class performance artists to MU for the annual Chinese Art and Culture Night. The invited middle school students, who have top academic records and live in Beijing, performed to an overflowing crowd in Jesse Hall. The CI offers fully paid scholarships for Mizzou students to study in China and sponsors an academic lecture series at MU. The CI has connected with extension offices in Blue Springs and St. Louis to discuss educational outreach. The CI recently received 1,547 books for the CI library at MU.

The CI has been very supportive of China-focused outreach efforts at MU. MU’s College of Engineering has formed key partnerships with several universities in China, which has led to growth in the numbers of international students studying engineering at MU. MU’s School of Journalism also has strong ties in China and was instrumental in building early links with that nation.

In the 2011-2012 school year, MU had 854 students from China, which represented 46.3% of all international students at MU. Studies have found that international students contribute to both the campus cultural climate and to the economic well-being of a college town. According to a 2010-2011 report from NAFSA: Association of International Educators, in 2010-2011 international students and their dependents contributed an estimated $20.33 billion to the US economy. Moreover, the net contribution to Missouri’s state economy was $383 million and to MU was $44 million.
University of Missouri
Elizabeth Bissell Miller, MA, MAT