WKU President Gary Ransdell was among a select group of panelists invited to participate in the President’s Forum during this week’s 6th Confucius Institute Conference at the China National Convention Center in Beijing. The global conference brings together delegates from more than 350 CI’s.
WKU became the first Kentucky university to host a Confucius Institute 18 months ago. Now in its second year, WKU’s CI has brought 23 volunteer teachers from China into southcentral Kentucky, impacting 4,800 students. That number is expected to grow to 45 volunteer teachers next year, impacting 10,000 students in grades K-16.
The WKU Confucius Institute also helps bridge the two nations by conducting programming in the arts, business and science.
“Although WKU only has an 18-month history of the Confucius Institute, Chinese officials believe we are doing great job and asked for Dr. Ransdell to share our experience with 350 other Confucius Institutes,” said Dr. Wei-Ping Pan, director of WKU’s CI.
The two-day conference focused on development and planning strategies for the next five to 10 years.
“We went from introducing ourselves and really getting a feel for what a Confucius Institute does last year to this year charting the future course for the next five to 10 years for our Confucius Institute,” Dr. Ransdell said.
Attending the CI conference was one of several objectives during Dr. Ransdell’s visit to China.
NCEPU is the official partner university for WKU’s Confucius Institute. WKU also is collaborating with NCEPU on clean coal research.
Dr. Pan, who also serves as director of WKU’s Institute for Combustion Science and Environmental Technology, has secured funding and helped build a thermal analysis lab at NCEPU that’s identical to the lab in Bowling Green.
Dr. Ransdell was able to tour the China facility for the first time following an executive board meeting with administrators including NCEPU President Yongqian Liu.
Dr. Ransdell also got an extensive tour of Hebei, a comprehensive university in Baoding, about two hours southwest of Beijing.
A formal agreement was signed with Hebei President Hongrui Wang to begin exploring a proposed 2 plus 2 exchange program where students could spend their first two years at Hebei and finish their last two years of study at WKU. Many more details are still to be worked out.
The trip to China was documented by two members of the WKU Public Affairs staff — photographer Clinton Lewis and broadcast services coordinator Amy DeCesare.
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