Ten thousand new students each year are currently studying Mandarin Chinese in Utah schools’ dual-immersion foreign language programs. These students will graduate from high school and hit the job and higher education market by 2020. Already 13,000 students graduate each year in the state with at least a basic knowledge of Chinese, and total figures from dual-immersion programs and Chinese language classes estimate that figure will total 25,000 students each year by 2020.
In Utah County alone, 13 high schools offer Chinese language courses while elementary schools in the Alpine, Provo and Nebo school districts provide students dual-immersion programs in Mandarin. For the 2012-2012 school year, 80 elementary schools in school districts throughout the state offer dual-immersion.
In recent years, Utah school districts have embraced educational programming that is preparing future generations of Utahns to be successful in the job place, the marketplace and cultural pursuits with China. With China rapidly becoming a world economic and cultural power, the more Utahns that speak Chinese and have experience in Chinese studies, the greater advantage they will have in accessing employment, business and cultural opportunities with the world’s most populous country.
Utah Valley University President Matthew S. Holland’s Chinese Initiative seeks to provide UVU students with greater opportunities to study China’s language, culture, business and economics as the Asian superpower continues to emerge as a key global economic power. In support of that goal, UVU will present its inaugural Chinese studies conference, “China’s Global Impact,” March 23-24 in the UVU Library’s Lakeview Room.
The conference will bring together experts from China, Europe, Canada, Africa and the United States in economics, business, culture, political science and languages presenting their findings regarding the dimensions and reasons for China’s impact on the world today. Among the international scholars is Susan Hui Xu, a marketing professor from Tianjin, China, and a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence with UVU’s Woodbury School of Business.
“We are pleased to host international events such as ‘China’s Global Impact,’ as they help cultivate and further develop Utah Valley University’s mission of global engagement,” said Frederick White, associate dean of the College of Humanities & Social Sciences. “Through hosting conferences that invite local and global communities to intersect, we encourage dialogue that both enriches and fosters understanding into our institution.”
For more information, a full schedule of the conference and information about the expert presenters, view theWTC Utah’s calendar page here.
The Salt Lake City-based musical group, Matteo, that features a Chinese zither combined with Chinese and Western sounds, will perform during conference breaks including during the one-hour lunch intermissions on Friday and Saturday.
The conference is being organized by a committee chaired by Martin Woesler, a UVU associate professor of Chinese studies and one of the conference’s expert speakers. The China’s Global Impact Chinese Studies Conference is presented by the College of Humanities & Social Sciences and the Interdisciplinary Studies Program, with several speakers joining from the Woodbury School of Business. The Confucius Institute of the University of Utah is also contributing to the presentation of the conference.