Leeds has joined an elite band of European universities with a specialist Confucius Institute dedicated to business and commerce.
The Leeds International Business Confucius Institute (LIBCI) will promote the understanding of Chinese culture and the teaching of Mandarin in the UK. It will boost trade by running short training courses in Chinese culture and etiquette for multinational and regional companies hoping to invest in China and orientation courses for Chinese businesses hoping to invest in the UK.
There are just two other business-focused Confucius Institutes in Europe at the University of Copenhagen and the London School of Economics and Political Science. The Leeds International Business Confucius Institute is being opened in partnership with the University for International Business and Economics (UIBE), one of China's leading universities.
The Leeds institute opened on 28 November 2012 with a glittering celebration of the long-standing links between the University of Leeds and China.
Professor Michael Arthur, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, said: "Our University has a proud history of studying and working with China and its people and the opening of the Leeds International Business Confucius Institute will build on this."Businesses and entrepreneurs will be welcomed alongside students and scholars when the institute opens and this is great news for Leeds, Yorkshire and the north of England. We are delighted and honoured to host the institute and to be partnering with the University for International Business and Economics."
Leeds was one of the first universities in the UK to forge educational links with China, with its Department for Chinese Studies opening in 1963. The University is now home to one of the UKs largest centres for East Asian Studies.
Leeds University Business School has a strong reputation in China, and the Centre for International Business (CIBUL), one of the world's leading institutes for international business research and teaching, has particular expertise in China and the Far East.
The Confucius institute is based in CIBUL and its opening is the culmination of years of work led by Peter Buckley OBE, Professor of International Business at Leeds University Business School.
Professor Buckley said: "There are just 11 Confucius Institutes in the UK and those specialising in business and commerce are extremely rare. Leeds has been chosen because of its strong academic reputation around the world, and in particular, the ground-breaking work carried out here at the Centre for International Business.
The institute was opened by Professor Michael Arthur and Professor Shi Jianjun, President of UIBE, and attended by distinguished guests from the Chinese embassy in the UK and the University of Leeds.
The global network of Confucius Institutes has been set up with backing from part of the Chinese Ministry of Education, or Hanban, with the aim of promoting and disseminating Chinese language and culture.
The institute will oversee the teaching of Mandarin in schools, colleges, community groups and the setting up Mandarin language training courses, and organising conference activities.
Activities in the Leeds International Business Confucius Institute will complement work already underway at the White Rose East Asian Centre (WREAC), which is run by Leeds University Business School, the Centre for East Asian Studies at Leeds and the School of East Asian Studies at Sheffield University. As part of the partnership with UIBE, staff and student exchanges will study in Leeds, and vice-versa.
Professor Peter Buckley is available for interview.
Contact: Guy Dixon, Communications, University of Leeds. Tel: +44(0)113 343 4031; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org