Troy University celebrated the impact of its international education efforts on Thursday night, highlighting the work of its Confucius Institute during a Chinese New Year Appreciation Banquet at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
In addition, the University presented two replica terracotta warriors to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in honor of Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange.
“In 2007, we received the designation as host of Alabama’s Confucius Institute, and so, for almost a decade, the Confucius Institute at Troy University has been teaching Chinese language, history and culture to the people of Alabama,” said Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor. “Part of Troy University’s evolution as Alabama’s International University has been about growing relationships and increasing understanding of other cultures. Understanding precedes appreciation, and when we can appreciate our differences, we can grow lasting relationships.”
The banquet celebrated the work of TROY’s Confucius Classrooms, including partnerships at Baldwin Arts and Academic Magnet, Forest Avenue Academic Magnet and L.A.M.P. in Montgomery, along with Pike Road School, Charles Henderson Middle School in Troy and Indian Springs School outside of Birmingham. Statewide, nearly 6,000 students are learning the Chinese language and culture. Students from the Confucius Classrooms at L.A.M.P. and Indian Springs and TROY students and faculty provided special performances during the banquet.
“There are 6,000 students statewide in six Confucius Classrooms that are learning the Chinese language,” said Dr. Iris Xu, director of the Confucius Institute at TROY. “The students love this program because they learn about the Chinese language and culture and it helps them to develop a better understanding of the world.”
State Board of Education member Mary Scott Hunter said the international education efforts of Troy University have a tremendous impact on the state.
“The Confucius Institute at TROY is quite unique in that it has a statewide reach,” Hunter said. “We are very fortunate to have Dr. Hawkins, the Board of Trustees and the leadership of the Confucius Institute that is willing to do this vital work. It is quite important and necessary if our state is going to have exposure to the world outside of Alabama.”
The gift of the terracotta warriors is the result of another one of the University’s international education efforts – the Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park. The park, which opened in November on the Troy Campus, is home to an amphitheater and several prominent art installations, including 200 replica terracotta warriors by the artist Huo Bao Zhu and the Warriors Unearthed interpretive center by artist Frank Marquette, which explores the history behind the famous terracotta warriors.
“We are so appreciative of the relationship the city of Montgomery enjoys with Troy University and we are grateful for this gift of two terracotta warriors,” said Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange. “It represents the international vision that TROY maintains, and we can’t wait to see these wonderful terracotta warriors in the sculpture garden at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.”