Welcome to our website. The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center is the proud home of the only Confucius Institute in the Northern Rockies region, a cooperative partnership between the University of Montana, the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) and Southwest University of Political Science and Law (SWUPL) in Chongqing, China. The Confucius Institute is part of an international network of Confucius Institutes dedicated to providing education, public programming, and teacher training on Chinese language, history, culture, and current affairs.
Approved in 2008, the highlight of our programming is the delivery of high quality in-person and on-line Chinese language instruction at the K-12 level. In 2009-2010, CI teachers from China introduced Chinese language and culture courses in ten Montana high schools – the first ever public Chinese classroom instruction in the history of the state. Beginning in August, 2010, CI’s teachers will offer on-line Chinese language and culture instruction for all public, private and home school high school students across the state through the newly created Montana Digital Academy. (See http://www.montanadigitalacademy.org/). The courses are free of charge. Chinese language and culture instruction at the elementary level is being expanded in the Missoula school district for the coming school year as well.
The CI also offers teacher training, summer language and craft workshops, public lectures and discussions, and other cultural events in different locations throughout the state. In the past year, the most notable among these activities were a Mandarin language camp in China and professional development and credit renewal workshops for teachers throughout western and northern Montana, as well as public lectures in Hamilton and Kalispell and stellar musical performances in Plains and Missoula. The first of these performances was a traditional music recital and dance show featuring a group of SWUPL students. The second was a concert and workshop featuring the noted Chinese pipa performer Wu Man, who played with the String Orchestra of the Rockies. Both events drew large public audiences. Announcements of upcoming trainings, public lectures, and cultural events are posted regularly on our website.
Please contact our staff if you have questions, would like more information, or have suggestions for future events. Additional high quality activities for students of different age groups and the general public are being planned.
After establishing a pilot institute in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in June 2004, the first Confucius Institute opened on 21 November 2004 in Seoul, South Korea. Hundreds more have since opened in dozens of countries around the world, with the highest concentration of Institutes in the United States, Japan, and South Korea. In April 2007 the first research-based Confucius Institute opened at Waseda University in Japan. In partnership with Peking University, the program promotes the research activities of graduate students studying China. As of October 2010, there were 322 Confucius Institutes and 337 Confucius Classrooms in 94 countries and regions. The Ministry of Education estimates 100 million people overseas may be learning Chinese by 2010 and the program is expanding rapidly to keep pace. Hanban aims to establish 1,000 Confucius Institutes by 2020.