The Confucius Institute is Making an Impact

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Article from Inside IUPUI, August 2016

Can an oversized balloon from the "Kung Fu Panda" movie franchise really highlight the importance of an academic collaboration based at IUPUI by soaring above the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade?

In the case of the Confucius Institute, the answer appears to be a big "yes." But the balloon is just one of the unique things that sets the institute apart as it puts the finishing touches on its first decade in Indianapolis.

The institute was formed in 2007 when IUPUI and Sun Yat-sen University, a top-10 Chinese university in Guangzhou, a city in the southern China province of Guangdong, forged a partnership that is still making a difference in both countries. Like IUPUI, Sun Yat-sen is committed to the health and life sciences.

But that commitment isn't the only thing that links the two campuses. Study-abroad programs have changed the careers and international perspective of students from both IUPUI and Sun Yat-sen. It's a big reason that Ian McIntosh, the director of international partnerships for the Office of International Affairs and one of two associate directors of the institute, believes in the its role in the academic, economic, governmental and cultural life of Indianapolis.

"We have a large footprint," McIntosh said. "Our mandate is with the community as a whole, not just IUPUI. That helps the Confucius Institute make an impact throughout the city."

The institute has multiple goals:

Language training
Business relationships
Cultural awareness
International understanding between China and the U.S.
Government relationships and exchanges

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