The Confucius Institute of Rutgers University (CIRU) was formed in partnership with Jilin University in China and with support from the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban)/Confucius Institute Headquarters. It is the first Confucius Institute in the state of New Jersey. CIRU aims to broaden Chinese language instruction, promote Chinese culture, spur the development of Chinese Studies, and advance a wide range of cultural exchanges of the U.S. and China.
CIRU was launched on November 9, 2007, with an opening ceremony held on the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus. The Institute reports directly to the Vice President for Global Advancement and International Affairs and is overseen by the CIRU Board of Directors. The Institute collaborates closely with the faculty interested in China in the departments of Asian Languages and Cultures, History, Religion, Anthropology, Art History, and other units of the university in the common goal of strengthening the curriculum in Chinese language and Chinese Studies at Rutgers.
To promote Chinese language learning in New Jersey, CIRU offers Chinese language courses at all proficiency levels and evening courses to both Rutgers students and the public；develops online teaching material for K-12 schools In January of 2011, the Institute with the support of Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters sponsored the establishment of five Confucius Classrooms in five high schools in New Jersey and neighboring Pennsylvania. To maintain the high standard of Chinese language teaching, the Institute holds annual professional workshops for New Jersey Chinese language teachers in K-12 schools.
The Institute supports Chinese Studies in multiple ways: it offers a set of undergraduate courses in Chinese Studies for Rutgers students; it regularly hosts prominent scholars in Chinese Studies in its Distinguished Lecture Series; it organizes large-scale international conferences on traditional and modern China; and it has an active publication series in Chinese Studies.
In order to enrich the social studies curriculum in K-12 schools in New Jersey with accurate and up-to-date information on contemporary China and Chinese civilization, CIRU each year holds special interdisciplinary workshops on various aspects of traditional and contemporary China for social studies teachers in K-12 schools.
In addition, CIRU sponsors a broad variety of cultural and arts programs. In order to attain maximum appreciation of Chinese art, the Institute every year hosts a number of artists and performance troupes from China to provide New Jersey residents with wonderful examples of Chinese art. It organizes Chinese language contests and speech competitions of all kinds to enhance the public interest in learning Chinese and widen the teaching of Chinese language. It also holds the annual Hanban-sponsored Summer Camp in China for New Jersey high school students, which serves to improve students’ knowledge and understanding of China and to stimulate the cultural exchanges between the two countries.
Since its establishment in November 2007, CIRU has witnessed significant increases of both the number of its projects and the size of its student population. In the coming years, we will continue our efforts to develop a braod variety of innovatve, high-quality Chinese language and culture programs and seek ever more venues and opportunities to fulfill our mission of promoting Chinese language and culture instruction, strengthening the development of Chinese Studies, and enhancing cultural exchanges between the U.S. and China.