Aiming to convey America's history, values and customs through friendly outreach from lectures and book clubs to service projects and holiday celebrations Southern Utah University will work with Hunan Normal University in Changsha, China, to open an American Cultural Center.
The centers are seen as America's answer to China's sometimes-controversial Confucius Institutes, which teach Chinese language and culture on dozens of campuses throughout the U.S., including the University of Utah. The hundreds of academic affiliations between American and Chinese universities "have done little," the U.S. State Department says, to address general public misunderstandings in China about America.
SUU is one of 10 American higher education institutions receiving new grants of $100,000 from the State Department to open centers with Chinese partners. An earlier round of seed money funded 12 centers developed by schools from the New York Institute of Technology to Arizona State University. A center designed by the University of Minnesota with the Tianjin University of Sport in Tianjin, China, focuses on how the culture and values of sports are infused into American society.