Asia Society's Chinese Language Programs Honored by Confucius Institute Headquarters

SHANGHAI, December 9, 2015 — The Confucius Institute Headquarters, a nonprofit organization under China’s Ministry of Education, honored two Asia Society Chinese language programs at the 10th annual Confucius Institute World Conference on December 6–7 at the Shanghai World Expo Center.

The International School of Tucson in Arizona and Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School in Massachusetts, both members of Asia Society’s Confucius Classrooms Network, have been named Hanban Confucius Classrooms of the Year for excellence in teaching and learning, curriculum, cultural richness, community engagement, and extracurricular activities. Ten Confucius Classrooms were selected for this prestigious award from more than 1,000 worldwide. Three Confucius Classrooms from the United States were honored, including International School of Tucson and Pioneer Valley.

Representatives from both schools accepted their award during the opening ceremony of the Confucius Institute World Conference. Pioneer Valley was also recently ranked the top-performing high school in the state of Massachusetts for the 2014–2015 school year.

Asia Society’s Confucius Classrooms are a network of 100 Chinese language programs in primary and secondary schools and school districts around the United States. All of the schools in network have effective Chinese language instruction, strong local leadership and support, and a demonstrated commitment to international exchange and collaboration. As Confucius Classrooms, they also act as resource centers for other schools in their region.

“Asia Society has been working in the field of Chinese language capacity building and instruction for almost 10 years and we are thrilled to support schools around the country in growing their programs and expanding their impact,” said Jeff Wang, Director of China Learning Initiatives at Asia Society. “This global award for the International School of Tucson and Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion School recognizes both the outstanding work of these two programs as well as the growing strength of Chinese language programs in the United States.”

More than 2,300 attendees from 134 countries, including Confucius Institute center directors, university presidents, and diplomats, attended the annual conference. Yuan Guiren, Minister of Education for China, hosted the opening ceremony, and Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of China and Chairwoman of the Council of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, provided keynote remarks. Attending the Confucius Institute World Conference on behalf of Asia Society were Asia Society staff and representatives from 10 Asia Society Confucius Classrooms around the U.S.

Established in 2004, the Confucius Institute, also known as Hanban, provides funding, teachers, and resources for overseas Chinese language and cultural courses. Since its inception, 1.9 million people in 134 countries around the world have studied Chinese language and culture through Confucius Institute programs.