Auburn University Montgomery opened its arms and welcomed a new Confucius Institute to the River Region on Nov. 2, bringing together cultures that might otherwise remain half a world apart.
A delegation of 13 Chinese dignitaries visited AUM for the grand opening of the Confucius Institute, a daylong celebration featuring a variety of cultural exhibits and performances – from calligraphy demonstrations to an hibachi-style cooking show.
"We are very pleased and honored to welcome a Confucius Institute to its new home at Auburn Montgomery," said Chancellor John G. Veres III. "The Confucius Institute is a gateway to Chinese culture and language, both on campus and in the community. Through the institute, we will continue to foster and expand the notion that a global education is beneficial for both AUM students and students abroad."
Greg Canfield, Alabama Secretary of Commerce, presented the keynote address at the dedication ceremony. Canfield spoke about the potential for the Confucius Institute at AUM to become an important conduit for continued economic cooperation between China and the State of Alabama.
Established in 2004 to promote the teaching of Chinese culture and language, Confucius Institutes are nonprofit public organizations aligned with the Chinese government through the Ministry of Education. They are named in honor of Confucius, a Chinese teacher and philosopher, who lived 551-479 B.C.
Before the grand opening, AUM's Confucius Institute was already hard at work, teaching Mandarin Chinese in the Chinese language weekend classes and reaching out to over 170 elementary school students throughout Montgomery Public Schools, Baldwin Middle Magnet and the YMCA.