Congressman Al Green & the Birth of Confucius

The Confucius Institute at TSU is in a joint partnership with China’s Beijing Jiaotong University with the common goal of strengthening the educational cooperation between the U.S. and China. These efforts derive deeply from university administration, but reach as far as the U.S. Congress and the Chinese Consulate. United States Congressman Al Green (Dem., Tx), known for his longtime support of relations between the U.S. and China, has been a key stepping stone in building this partnership. The program’s conception dates back as as early as 2009 with the passing of H.Res.784 (111th Congress) in the U.S. House of Representatives. This simple resolution, introduced by Al Green, honors the 2560th anniversary of the birth of Confucius. Going against the grain of many politicians on the idea of recognizing Confucius on its contributions to political and philosophical thought, Congressman Green found it important to implement Confucianism in education at TSU.

With a strong preexistent mutual understanding with the Chinese government and hard work of Congressman Green, the Confucius Institute at TSU was officially launched on August 10th, 2013, welcoming students and faculty to explore the curriculum and myriad opportunities offered by this new landmark program. The Confucius Institute at TSU is noteworthy for being the first one established in the greater Houston area. Since its launch two years ago, the program has made notable successes in bringing immense cultural experiences to the university. The program further exposes students at Texas Southern to immersive cultural experiences through sponsored study abroad and cultural exchange programs. The Confucius Institute here at TSU recognizes Congressman Al Green for his contributions and time devoted to making TSU a better place to further your education.

Hoops for Confucius

Summer 2015, Texas Southern Men’s basketball team traveled to Beijing, China to participate in an academic and athletic foreign exchange program. Although our athletes are well traveled domestically, the Confucius Institute wanted to extend the offer for them to travel and compete internationally, both academically and athletically. Winning the South Western Athletic Conference and reaching the NCAA tournament for the past two years, our men’s basketball team was recognized and treated as premier collegiate athletics. After arriving in china on June 19th, the team attended language intensive Mandarin classes at Beijing Jiaotong University, while also enjoying the cultural sites of Beijing. Over the course of their international trip, the men’s basketball team competed in four competitive matches, ending with an international record of 2-2. Their unparalleled immersion in the Chinese language and culture is a landmark accomplishment of the Confucius Institute at Texas Southern University.

The TSU team received a warm welcome from the Beijing Jioatong University, where the team was lodged upon their arrival to China. All team members participated in language training during the team’s stay at the premier technological institute. The team was given a rich taste of culture in Beijing, including a visit to The Palace Museum, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City making for a well-balanced mixture of cultural and historical exposure for the international competitors. The second day of international travel, the TSU men’s basketball team competed against the China Youth Basketball Team (CYBT). Although TSU Basketball lost (losing once in overtime and again the next day), lessons were learned and bond were forged as two nationally renowned teams engaged in friendly diplomatic competition. The TSU basketball team was treated to a most immersive experience during their stay, including a visit to Wangfujing Street, a location popular for exotic foods and imperial estates in the nation’s capitol, Taikoo Li Sanlitun, a center of business well known for the artistic flair of its colorful three-dimensional modern architecture, Beijing National Stadium also known as the Bird’s Nest (home of the 2008 Olympics), the Temple of Heaven, a historical religious complex over 500 years old, and most importantly, the Great Wall of China.

Chinese language was a constant during the TSU basketball team’s visit, and this exposure to the language of Mandarin would forever shape each team member’s view of the people of China and the depth of Chinese culture. Team members were trained rigorously in introductory level Mandarin during their stay in Beijing. Standards of proficiency in a foreign language required the team to forge new bonds in breaking the language barrier, making it rather transparent that their athletic skills and prowess would get them only so far in the various provinces of China’s massive republic. The team’s newly acquired knowledge and proficiencies made it possible to engage the team in coursework at BJTU therefore, the team sat for the HSK proficiency exam to test their knowledge of the Mandarin language. After a day of leisure in China’s capitol, the TSU basketball team traveled to Shanghai by bullet train from Beijing. During a three-day visit, the team saw Yuyuan Garden, the Oriental Pearl Tower, Nanjing Road, before returning to the United States.

Introducing the Texas Southern University Confucius Institute

April 12, 2013

The Confucius Institute at Texas Southern University serves students, faculty members, staff and community members by fostering exchange and dialogue. The first of its kind in the greater Houston metropolitan area and one of 226 centers worldwide, the institute is a hub that brings different groups together. The institute has a three-pronged approach, dedicated to providing greater Houston with courses, programs, events, and services related to China and Chinese cultures.

The primary focus is on increasing employment opportunities for TSU students through language training, cross-cultural exchange and professional development programs.

A secondary focus involves using the institute as an academic forum for intellectual discovery and exchange. This includes a scholar lecture series in the areas of business, law, science, medicine, and technology exchange and commerce related to China.

Our third focus is on community and relationship building through educational and fun-filled workshops, events and performances designed to bring people together and inspire them to explore the diversity that China has to offer.

The TSU Confucius Institute remains a strong partnership with Beijing Jiatong University and has the full support of the Board of Regents: Dr. Danille Taylor, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences; who along with Wendy Adair, Vice President for University Advancement, traveled to China last summer to discuss the particulars of the Institute and partnership and the benefits of locating the Institute at TSU; as well as the support of Dr. Sunny E. Ohia, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research.

Our Grand Opening

April 10, 2013

On April 10, 2013, the Confucius Institute opened on campus with activities welcoming students, staff, faculty members, and honored guests from Hanban Institute, the headquarter organization that manages the Confucius Institutes worldwide, and from the partner university, premiere Beijing Jiaotong University. The three-day celebration included a Chinese Dragon Parade featuring the Ocean of Soul Band on the Tiger Walk, Shaolin Kung Fu performance, A Taste of China, with an array of refreshments and food, Chinese film festival and TSU Drum Corp performances. The grand opening ceremony took place on the third day and included a continental breakfast, breakout sessions, plenary concluding session, and opening ceremony and reception.

“Global Connections with China in the Twenty-First Century” Conference

March 29, 2013

The Confucius Institute at Texas Southern University, major Houston business organizations and academic institutions, hosted a Confucius Institute Conference titled "Global Connections in the Twenty-First Century" in cooperation with the Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Houston. Beyond debates of the twentieth-century, the conference explored the importance of international business ties with China and the benefits for TSU students in becoming more globally aware and taking advantage of travel and language opportunities as well as the growing diversity and economic boom of Houston. As Dean Danielle Taylor of the College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences emphasized, the institute will "help TSU students understand that China is not as far as they think."

For more information, please visit Global Connections with China in the Twenty-First Century: Texas Southern University Confucius Institute Opening Conference.

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