Mary Anne Fitzpatrick, interim chancellor of the University of South Carolina Upstate and Carolina Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of South Carolina, attended the 11th Global Confucius Institute Conference, which was held December 10-11in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China.
Each year, Fitzpatrick travels to the conference, which attracts 1,500 people, to represent the USC System. She meets with the elite Beijing Language and Culture University and the 20 or so other universities around the world with link with BLCU. She also meets with the international partners who hold Confucius Institute grants to discuss expanding the partnerships and sharing resources.
Fitzpatrick has held a grant for nine years to support a Confucius Institute to foster the teaching of Chinese language and culture both on and off campus at USC.
USC is the first research university in South Carolina to establish a Confucius Institute (CI) in collaboration with the Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) and the Office of Chinese Language Council International, a division of the Chinese Ministry of Education, which has launched 475 such institutes and 851 classrooms in 126 countries since 2004 to promote education about Chinese language, culture and society. The Confucius Institute is expected to strengthen the university’s course offerings in Chinese language and culture with the BLCU providing four visiting faculty members, promote more visiting scholars from China, and expand China-related research library collections at the Thomas Cooper Library.