2 October 2009

The University of Queensland today (Friday, October 2) – one day after the 60th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China – formalised arrangements to establish a Confucius Institute in partnership with Tianjin University.

UQ Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield and Chairman of the Tianjin University Administrative Council Professor Liu Jianping signed the Confucius Institute Agreement on behalf of their respective universities at UQ’s St Lucia Campus.

Inaugural Director, Professor Ping Chen, said the UQ Confucius Institute would strengthen education and research cooperation between Australia and China, particularly in the fields of Chinese language and culture, science, engineering and technology.

“It will be a gateway to Chinese language and culture, and a gateway to China for UQ students and staff, and for the broader community,” Professor Chen said.

Professor Chen, who has worked at UQ for the past 18 years, has academic interests in the areas of Chinese language and linguistics.

The UQ Confucius Institute will aim to generate increased interest in Chinese studies by Australian students, and strengthen science, engineering and technology linkages.

Activities will include:
• Supporting opportunities for UQ’s science, engineering, technology and Chinese studies students to experience Chinese language and culture, and raising awareness of collaborative opportunities between Australia and China
• Promoting exchange between UQ staff and students with Chinese universities, in particular with Tianjin University, in the fields of science, engineering, technology and Chinese studies;
• Hosting visiting researchers and scholars to raise awareness of the contribution that China plays in science and technology advancements.
• Arranging high-level delegations and connections with Chinese universities, research institutions, government and corporations.

Tianjin University is well-known for its engineering school and already has established links with UQ’s School of Engineering, and UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.

As UQ’s partner institution, Tianjin University will appoint a Senior Deputy Director, who may have a background in science, engineering and technology.

Each year, over 1800 Chinese students study at UQ and approximately 800 Australian and international students study Chinese language and culture.

The UQ Confucius Institute will be situated within the Faculty of Arts at UQ’s St Lucia Campus and will involve the Faculties of Science and Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology.

The purpose of a Confucius Institute, a non-profit organisation, is to support the development of Chinese language education and increase mutual understanding among people from China and Australia.

An agreement to establish a Confucius Institute at UQ was signed in Beijing on April 16, 2009 by Hu Zhiping, Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), and Professor Michael Keniger, UQ Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

Media: Professor Chen (07 3365 6341, p.chen@uq.edu.au) or Penny Robinson at UQ Communications (07 3365 9723, penny.robinson@uq.edu.au)