Office of the President

Dr. Patrick T. Harker is the 26th president of the University of Delaware. He also serves as professor of business administration in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering.

Confucius Institute Inauguration
Gore Recital Hall
October 19, 2010

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Deputy Provost Havidán Rodríguez has been absolutely critical to the University of Delaware’s efforts to strengthen our international exchanges and programming, and optimize our engagement around the world. Thank you, Havidán.

I’m thrilled to welcome all of you to the inauguration of the Confucius Institute at the University of Delaware. And I’m honored to recognize our partner in this endeavor, Xiamen University President Zhu Chongshi. We thank you for making the long journey to the U.S. for this wonderful celebration—and for your extraordinary dedication to the cause that’s brought us together tonight.

As Havidán mentioned, President Zhu is joined by a significant delegation from Xiamen University—faculty and staff with whom we’ve worked closely for years on a number of initiatives and partnerships. I thank each of you for your close collaboration and for showing such commitment to this latest effort.

I thank the representatives joining us from the Office of the Chinese Ambassador to the U.S.—First Secretary Shen Yiling and First Secretary Yi Jun. We’re grateful for your support of this Confucius Institute, and delighted that you’re able to join us for its official launch.

I thank Felicia Pullam, who is here representing Governor Jack Markell. We deeply appreciate the state’s support. I’d also like to acknowledge Bonnie Wu, representing Sen. Tom Carper. Thank you so much for joining us.

And we’re delighted to hear the good wishes of Madame Xu Lin, director-general of the Confucius Institute Headquarters.

Confucius Institute
The Confucius Institute at the University of Delaware is a partnership among UD, Xiamen University, and the Confucius Institute Central Headquarters/Hanban. For two years, we’ve been working to establish this institute at UD. It required a significant amount of time, energy, and effort from everyone involved. And I’m thrilled we’re able to celebrate its inauguration together.

By promoting and teaching Chinese language and culture, the Confucius Institute aims to develop friendly relationships between China and other nations, and to encourage multiculturalism at the international level.

Of course, UD’s Confucius Institute will advance several of this University’s most important goals: to expand our international reach and amplify our impact; to strengthen global partnerships; and to develop collaborative initiatives in international and transnational issues. These are key priorities in our strategic plan—our Path to Prominence. We are committed to ensuring that UD plays a significant role in the global community.

Through the institute, we’ll build interest and competence in Chinese language and culture, and instigate a deeper appreciation of China’s global importance—not just among members of the University community but throughout the state and the region. We’ll enhance the University’s academic, intellectual, cultural, and global climate. And we will strengthen education, research, and cultural collaborations with China’s universities, government agencies, NGOs, and private industry.

I think everyone agrees that we have a fast-growing need for facility in Chinese language, culture, and practice, and a compelling interest in internationalizing our campus and our outlook. We have an obligation to help Delawareans—students and citizens—meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of our globalized, integrated world. And we have an unmatched chance to broker meaningful cultural understanding between China and Delaware, and to build a strong bridge between the University and the private sector, fostering economic scholarship and entrepreneurship.

Building on Strength
For years, we’ve been working to strengthen our connections to China. Some 1,500 students from China are now studying at UD. That number represents our undergraduate and graduate students, as well as students studying at our acclaimed English Language Institute. These students represent more than one-third of all the international students on campus, and their share is increasing at a record pace.

Additionally, the day on which we unveiled our Path to Prominence—the very plan in which we make the case for enhanced global engagement—we were treated to a keynote address by His Excellency Zhou Wenzhong, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the U.S.

Through the years, we’ve developed strong and active partnerships with a number of Chinese universities: Xiamen University, of course; Beijing Normal University; East China Normal University; Southwestern University of Finance and Economics; and China Agricultural University. We’ve more recently developed a partnership with Tsinghua University—with a focus on the history of architecture—and with Peking University, focusing on Chinese cultural & literary studies and historical documents and archives.

UD has several programs and centers dedicated to the study and appreciation of Asian culture—and Chinese culture in particular—including the Chinese Program and the Center for Asian Studies.

The Confucius Institute at UD is the most recent addition—a critical one—to this continuum of programming that will strengthen our connection to China and reaffirm our commitment to scholarship in Chinese issues and culture.

All of the ambitious aims I’ve addressed are achievable only with the partnership of the Confucius Institute Central Headquarters/ Hanban and, of course, with Xiamen University—its leadership, faculty, and staff with whom we have forged a tight and abiding friendship. We are deeply grateful for their committed collaboration.

I need to thank two men in particular for guiding and implementing this mission, the co-directors of UD’s Confucius Institute: Xiamen University’s Huang Jianjun, who just days ago arrived from China for a two-year stay at UD; and UD’s own Jianguo Chen, professor of foreign languages and literatures. They’ve already scheduled some terrific arts and cultural programming tomorrow that’s open to the public, and I hope many of you take advantage of it. We are indebted to you both—and so excited to see the growth and impact of the Confucius Institute under your leadership.

Along with everyone at University of Delaware, I look forward to its future success.

Thank you.

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