The first Confucius Institute at University of Maryland

On the morning of November 17, 2004, Ms Meihua Yan, Director of the National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (NOCFL) signed the final agreement for the Maryland Confucius Institute with Dr Saul Sosnowski, Director of the Office of International Programs at the University of Maryland. President Mote of the University of Maryland and Minister Counsellor Chuansheng Liu of the Chinese Embassy in the US also participated in the ceremony, along with representatives from the faculty participated in the ceremony.

President Mote extended his gratitude to the Chinese Ministry of Education and NOCFL for their trust in the University of Maryland to establish the first Confucius Institute in Maryland. Ms Yan thanked President Mote and Dr Sosnowski for their support and responsiveness in the planning of Maryland Confucius Institute, and expressed that NOCFL would be willing to provide full support for the Institute. Ms Yan and President Mote presented gifts to the Maryland Confucius Institute. One of the gifts from the University of Maryland is a Chinese calligraphy from a South-American student, which is a quote from Confucius - there is to be no discrimination in education. Later, Ms Meihua Yan and Dr Sosnowski signed the agreement regarding the Maryland Confucius Institute.

The Maryland Confucius Institute is the first institute of its kind established by NOCFL in the United States, and indicates a whole new stage of cooperation between NOCFL and the US. The founding of Maryland Confucius Institute will significantly facilitate the popularization of Chinese language and Chinese culture in the Washington DC metropolitan Area, and contribute to a better understanding and communication between Chinese and American people. As planned, the Maryland Confucius Institute will host various non-credit Chinese courses, training of local Chinese teachers, compilation of Chinese textbooks, administering HSK ( Test of Chinese as a second language), and sponsoring seminars on Chinese education, economics and culture. In time, NOCFL will seek to establish other Confucius Institutes in other nations and areas around the world where conditions permit.

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