Clarity around Name Change

What does this mean for CI Programs?

In late June, the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) was renamed to the Center for Language Education and Cooperation, and is no longer involved with Confucius Institute program funding. A newly formed non-governmental charitable organization, the Chinese International Education Foundation, is comprised by a number of universities and corporations and will assume the responsibility of developing the Confucius Institute branding and providing financial resources. Here are a few misconceptions around this change.

Will the change affect American host institutions’ CI programs?

Hanban, a separate organization, has changed its name. We have not and have not been asked to change our name nor has any individual CI program.

Hanban has been providing educational grants since the start of the program, but never actually ran the individual Confucius Institutes. This change was one way to better reflect this.  In the announcement of the change, officials noted that it represents an effort to clarify the program with a “focused, pragmatic, and efficient new model,” which they hope will allow for an opportunity for people to get past misinformed or misleading rhetoric and really look at the programs in their communities.

It’s unfortunate that so much writing about Confucius Institute programs in general have ignored the individual programs’ independence, local control of things like curriculum and educational value, and instead set up one-sided discussions that don’t include those who know and work with CI programs. As a recent U.S. GAO report notes, local schools make decisions about hiring, curriculum and programs that suit their students and institutions, but unfortunately people frustrated with China have targeted a language and cultural exchange program.

What does GAO report say about CI programs?

In the GAO report -that did not rely on critics but actually talked with people engaged in the programs-the investigation confirmed that the programs are run by local schools and Universities, teaching courses chosen and supervised at that level. Too often, critics of China look past Confucius Institute programs to their conclusions about that nation, making people’s opinions of the CI programs a ideological Rorschach Test, the inkblot images open to interpretation depending on a bias in place.

To read the analysis of the U.S. official report that contradicts the narrative, click here.

How about CIUS Center?

The Confucius Institute U.S. Center is not involved directly with individual Confucius Institute program management, their activities, or their curriculum. CI programs are run by American universities in partnership and consultation with their Chinese partner universities. The University has the final say, They don’t report to us and they will continue to operate independently the same way they did before the name change.