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Binghamton, China celebrate Confucius Institute opening

The University officially opened its latest global partnership initiative, the Confucius Institute of Chinese Opera, with a celebration held Nov. 6 in the Anderson Center for the Performing Arts.

The opening ceremonies featured a dinner, reception and a performance by members of China’s prestigious National Academy of Chinese Theater Arts (NACTA).

Jointly formed by Binghamton University and NACTA, and sponsored by the Confucius Institute headquarters in Beijing, the Confucius Institute of Chinese Opera at Binghamton University is expected to further international education and cultural ties with China.

“The Confucius Institute will enable Binghamton University to better address the needs and interests of our students and members of the Greater Binghamton community,” President Lois B. DeFleur said in a welcome to guests.

“The Institute, with its focus on language and culture, will greatly assist the University as it works with local schools to encourage and enhance understanding of Chinese culture,” she said. “The emphasis on Chinese Opera will bring performances that are both visually and musically impressive, and we are deeply grateful to be assisted in these efforts by the National Academy of Chinese Theater Arts.”

Joining a network of more than 300 Confucius Institutes worldwide, the Binghamton institute will promote the teaching of Chinese language and culture both on campus and in the community.

“China has become a major player in the world economy and there is a growing need for American students to be fully prepared to participate fully in this environment,” said Zu-yan Chen, who will serve as the University’s Confucius Institute director.  “The Confucius Institute will allow us to deepen those experiences by serving as a bridge between our cultures.”

In fall 2010, NACTA is expected to send five faculty members to the Binghamton campus — two language teachers, two Beijing Opera professors, and a Chinese instrumental musician. They will join faculty in the Asian and Asian American Studies program, the Theatre Department and the Music Department in expanding course offerings and Chinese cultural activities.

“We are tremendously excited about the opening of the Institute and look forward to the intellectual discoveries, artistic performances and cultural bridges that will develop out of this relationship,” DeFleur said. “The Confucius Institute is a noteworthy addition to the University and will enrich the academic and cultural life of both the University and the entire Greater Binghamton region.”

To watch videos from the Grand Opening of the Confucius Institute of Chinese Opera, visit


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Last Updated: 10/14/08