$500k proposal approved for Chinese cultural center

A $500,000 grant to create more classes in Chinese culture at USF is in the works after its approval by student government Senate Tuesday.

The grant, sponsored by USF Senator Cordell Chavis and directed by associate professor Dajin Peng, will establish the first-ever Confucius Institute in Florida.

The institute at USF will focus on Chinese language training at the University, as well as in primary and high schools in the surrounding community.

The University will also incorporate more Chinese cultural education and China-related courses, according to the written proposal for the Confucius Institute.

The Confucius Institute

is a non-profit program

developed by the Chinese government, designed to educate other nations about Chinese culture and language, according to Chavis.

To assist with USF’s education efforts, Nankai University in Tianjin, China, has agreed to send resources, including its own professors. The first professor is scheduled to arrive in January and will be available for tutoring in the Chinese language, though he will not instruct a class next semester.

“(Nankai) is the Yale of China,” Peng said. “We have had connections with Nankai for 20 years and the administration is delighted to work with us.”

Peng, who has traveled to China three times for the Confucius Institute project, will establish and maintain connections with Nankai University.

He also works closely with the Chinese language office in Beijing, an institute that is interested in sponsoring USF’s involvement in the program.

“There is also a focus on local community work with Chinese schools in the area. The Confucius Institute will bring native teachers to these schools for all aspects of

culture,” Chavis said.

Both Chavis and Peng said they anticipate success for this program and hope it can unite two major economic


“It will be helpful for the reputation of USF for the cultural exchange of the two most important countries in the world today,” Peng said. “It can build revenues for USF and it’s attractive for business on both sides of the Pacific.”

Jaclyn DeVore can be reached at (813) 974-6299 or oracledevore