This article was originally published on May 21, 2018 on the Confucius Institute US Center website.
(Washington, DC – May 21, 2018) -- Confucius Institutes across the state were honored by the Utah legislature at the state capitol on May 17. The legislature presented a citation of honor to a delegation from the Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing (Hanban) attending the Eleventh National Chinese Language Conference. Senator Curtis Bramble (R – District 16) said that this citation recognizes the efforts of the people of Utah to advance Chinese language programs with the support of Confucius Institutes.
The conference is the largest annual gathering in the US and North America of leaders and practitioners in the field of Chinese language and cultural education. It serves to build the teaching capacity by sharing cutting-edge practices among Chinese language educators and informing policymakers of the value of the US-China educational partnership.
Sen. Curt Bramble (right) and Sen. Howard Stephenson (left) presented the citation of honor to Mr. Zhao Guocheng, Deputy Director-General of Hanban, at the Utah State Capitol. Image via Confucius Institue US Center.
At the conference opening ceremony, Utah Governor Gary Herbert affirmed his commitment to advancing Utah's Chinese dual language immersion program, citing the value of Chinese language education for Utah's economic development and workforce employability.
Since the establishment of the first Confucius Institute in Utah in 2007, more than 13,000 students have participated in Chinese language classes. Supported by Confucius Institutes, Utah's dual language initiative has become a leading program in American immersion language instruction, preparing Utahns to thrive in a globalized society. In his meeting with Utah students and educators, Senator Orrin Hatch (R) called the Confucius Institutes’ programming "really critical and crucial" and said "learning [Chinese] ... is in [the US'] best interest.”
Senator Howard Stephenson (R - District 11) said that "the success of Utah's Chinese language program would not have happened without the Confucius Institutes and the caliber of teachers provided through these partnerships." He added, “I have never seen more dedicated teachers than those from the Confucius Institute." An advocate for dual language immersion in Utah, Sen. Stephenson claims "monolingualism is the illiteracy of the 21st Century."