Confucius Institute Opens in Seattle

Yesterday marked the grand opening of the new Confucius Institute in Seattle. The Institute is dedicated to promoting Chinese language and culture across the state of Washington, and has been realized thanks to some key partnerships with the University of Washington, Seattle Public Schools, and the Governor’s Office. The Office of Chinese Language Council International (HanBan) has funded fully one half of the Institute, which joins the ranks of nearly 250 others worldwide.

The Confucius Institute’s office will be located at the UW’s school of Engineering, with the education center temporarily located at Denny International Middle School in West Seattle before moving to the new combined Chief Sealth International High School/Denny International Middle School when it opens just a few blocks east in the fall.

The opening ceremony was a day long event, beginning at Denny International Middle School & Chief Sealth International High School. The celebration included several processions, notable speakers, and a lion dance. To conclude the event, Madame Xu Lin, director-general of Hanban, signed a memorandum of understanding at the University of Washington along with Governor Chris Gregoire, Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson, and UW President Mark Emmert.

In a press release issued by the Governor’s Office yesterday, Gov. Gregoire applauds the “collaboration of business and education leaders who worked tirelessly to bring this institute here.” This achievement stems back to January of 2006 when Associates in Cultural Exchange, in partnership with the Washington State Coalition for International Education, convened the leadership summit at the Rainier Club, hosted by A.C.E. Board Member Scott Hardman. A.C.E. would like to officially welcome HanBan and the Confucius Institute to Seattle, as we look forward to facilitating foreign language education and promoting cross cultural understanding together.

You can read further coverage of yesterday’s events here and here. The photo of the parade procession is courtesy of Christopher Boffoli/West Seattle Blog.

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