(Adapted from an OP-ED article published in the Honolulu Advertiser on Sunday, November 5, 2006, the day before the CI-UHM formally opened.)

Unveiling the Confucius Institute at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa

The verdant Hawaii Islands in their mid-Pacific location have for over two centuries played a siren song to travelers from the greatest land mass in East Asia. The earliest Chinese emigrants landed on Hawaii’s shores beginning in 1789, and built the first wooden structures around Honolulu harbor that are the forerunners of the business district of modern Honolulu. In 1879, a 13-year old Chinese boy landed on these same shores, and absorbed enough modern Western (Christian) education in Honolulu’s schools to topple the religious altars in his own home, and decades later, as Sun Yatsen, helped overthrow an empire to establish a democracy in his homeland.

The College of Hawaii was founded in 1907. A Honolulu resident of Chinese descent named William K.F. Yap is credited with having instigated the legislation that changed it to the University of Hawaii. William Yap is therefore honored by many as the “father of the University of Hawaii,” and a room at the University’s Hamilton Library is dedicated to him.

Given the prominence of these early connections between Hawaii and the Chinese, and the composition of Hawaii’s population, it is not surprising that by 1930, UH ranked third among US colleges and universities in the number of Asia-related courses it offered. And today, the University’s Center for Chinese Studies (UH-CCS), housed within the School of Pacific and Asian Studies, is the largest such research and training Center outside of Asia. With 58 faculty and 150 graduate students in 23 departments, UH-CCS, together with the Centers for Japanese and Korean Studies, has been recognized by the US Department of Education as a National Resource Center for East Asia (one of only 17 nationally).

The University of Hawaii at Manoa, and UH-CCS in particular, is therefore particularly proud at this juncture to be recognized by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, as key in promoting Chinese Studies in the US.

Tomorrow, on November 6, 2006, the Confucius Institute at the University of Hawaii at Manoa will be unveiled in a ceremony on campus, attended by Governor Linda Lingle; The Hon. You Shaozhong, Minister for Education of the People’s Republic of China; and Mr. Li Yaosheng, Consul for Education of the Los Angeles Consulate General of the PRC. Dr. David McClain, president of UH, and Dr. Denise Eby Konan, chancellor of UHM, will also be in attendance.

Support for the Confucius Institute at UHM comes through the National Office of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (NOCFL) of the Chinese Ministry of Education.  Our partner in this enterprise is the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), which traditionally trains members of China’s diplomatic corps. We are delighted to count the president of BFSU, Dr. Hao Ping, as a UHM alumnus.

When it is fully operational, the CI-UHM will respond to local and national needs in promoting education about Chinese language and culture, including (but not limited to) the following:

Developing a Chinese language teacher certification program, in collaboration with the UH departments of East Asian Languages and Literatures and Second Language Studies, and the UH College of Education. The CI-UHM has the potential to become a national leader in meeting the burgeoning demand in this field.

Developing an articulated, on-line Chinese language curriculum for kindergarten through grade 12 students, in collaboration with the Hawaii Department of Education and UH’s National Foreign Language Resource Center. This too, would respond to a recognized national need.

Developing innovative language learning opportunities for populations that are not currently being served, including a summer language immersion sports camp, weekend classes, and online lessons for executives.

Bringing the resources of UH-CCS faculty and students to the business, government, and general communities through lectures and other presentations.

Supporting Hawaii’s film resources, including the Hawaii International Film Festival and the film program at the Doris Duke Academy, and the University’s own Academy for Creative Media, in promoting Chinese films and documentaries.

Developing an online resource base to link Hawaii, the US mainland, the PRC and other Chinese communities elsewhere, in promoting education about Chinese language and culture.

The University of Hawaii is honored and delighted to be celebrating this new chapter in its relations with China, and with Chinese communities everywhere. We welcome the input of the entire Hawaii community in this important undertaking.

2010: Staff of the Confucius Institute (seated) with PRC Ambassador Qiu Shaofang, Narcissus Queen Miao Ningjin, and members and guests of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii.

2010: Staff of the Confucius Institute (seated) with PRC Ambassador Qiu Shaofang,

Narcissus Queen Miao Ningjin, and members and guests of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii.



Members of the CI-UHM at the 2013 Chinese New Year’s Banquet (attended by 170 people). Left to right:

Li Qikeng, CI-UHM PRC director; Frederick Lau, director of the Center for Chinese Studies (CCS) and member of the CI-UHM board; Zha Yunyun, CI-UHM teacher; Reed Dasenbrock, UHM Vice President for Academic Affairs and chair of the CI-UHM board; Dong Xu, CI-UHM teacher; Cynthia Ning, CI-UHM US director and CCS associate director; Zhang Ran, CI-UHM volunteer; Daniel Tschudi, CI-UHM and CCS coordinator. Missing: Jialin Sun, CI-UHM and CCS projects coordinator.

 CI-UHM brochure