La Trobe sets up Confucius Institute

La Trobe University will strengthen its China links across the higher education sector, business, government and the community with the establishment of a prestigious Confucius Institute in conjunction with Chongqing University.

chinaThe Institute is being established with the support of the Chinese Government as a non-profit public institution with a strong focus on Chinese language and culture. 

Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Rosenberg, says it will build on La Trobe’s existing strengths in Chinese language and culture programs.

The Institute’s first program starts on October 5, with a tailor-made course in beginners Chinese featuring convenient after-hours class times for students and the public – and the award of a special introductory set of scholarships.

‘The establishment of the Confucius Institute is a significant initiative for the University and we are looking forward to the official launch in mid November,’ says Professor Rosenberg.

Although based on the University’s main Melbourne campus, Institute programs will be rolled out on regional campuses, with cultural events already planned for Bendigo from the middle of next year.

Professor Rosenberg says the Confucius Institute will lead to a better understanding of China by staff, students and the community in general.

‘The Institute will provide valuable opportunities for academics on all our campuses to share ideas and experiences and enhance our reputation in promoting Chinese culture.  This will lead to an increased profile for the University nationally and internationally, particularly in China,’ says Professor Rosenberg.

La Trobe joins a select group of 322 Confucius Institutes world-wide, ten of which are in Australia.

Professor Pei Likun, Executive Director of the University’s Centre for China Studies, says Confucius Institutes are established under the auspices of the Office of the Chinese Language Council International, an affiliate of the Chinese Ministry of Education.

She says the new Confucius Institute is based on a partnership between La Trobe University and Chongqing University in south western China, one of China’s top 39 key national universities. Chongqing is China’s most populous city, with 32 million people.

‘It is highly unusual to have more than one Confucius Institute in a city, and it is thus a privilege for La Trobe University to have been given permission to establish a third Confucius Institute in Melbourne. Part of the rationale for this has been our strong regional mission,’ says Professor Pei.

The inaugural Chinese language course will be held over ten weeks, from 5 October to 7 December, 2011 with classes every Wednesday, from 6.30 to 8.30 pm.

Tuition fees are a very reasonable $280 for the full course – with a $100 scholarship offered for each student in the first cohort. To apply, or for further course information, please contact: Sophie Zhang on tel (03) 9479 6508 or email: x.zhang@latrobe.edu.au

Media enquiries: Professor John Rosenberg, Tel:  03 9479 6598; Email: john.rosenberg@latrobe.edu.au or Ernest Raetz, Media and Communications, Tel: 041 226 1919.

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