My Alma Mater released this press release the same day I arrived to give my presentation:

Thu, December 4, 2008

Valparaiso University President Mark Heckler will travel to China Dec. 6 to 11 at the invitation of the Chinese government to speak at the third annual Confucius Institute Conference, a gathering of hundreds of international delegates and Chinese officials who will examine global education and building relationships with China.

The conference in Beijing will focus on opportunities for further developing Confucius Institutes – non-profit institutes established and funded by the Chinese government in dozens of nations to promote cultural, business, educational, artistic and government exchanges.

The Confucius Institute Conference begins Dec. 9 with an opening ceremony and banquet for delegates in the Great Hall of the People – China’s parliamentary building located in Tiananmen Square. In the following days, a number of workshops will allow Confucius Institute directors and other delegates to exchange experiences and discuss new ideas.

President Heckler, one of 120 presidents of institutions of higher education attending the conference, will speak on “Confucius Institutes and World Multiculturalism” to conference delegates on Dec. 10.

Heckler’s travel expenses are being paid for by the Chinese government.

During his time in China, Heckler also will meet with representatives of China Agricultural University, Beijing Jiaotong University and North China University of Technology.

Heckler has extensive experience in the development of international study programs, including two years serving as the U.S. administrator of an undergraduate liberal arts degree-granting program in Beijing operated jointly by China Agricultural University and University of Colorado Denver.

Accompanying Heckler on the trip will be Jianyun Meng, director of Valpo’s Confucius Institute and a lecturer in foreign languages and literatures.

Valparaiso was selected in 2008 as the first faith-based university in the United States to host a Confucius Institute. Valpo’s Confucius Institute is focusing on the development of exchanges between northern Indiana and the province of Zhejiang – which became Indiana’s sister province in 1989. During the fall semester, the institute has sponsored the inaugural Great Lakes Confucius Institute Music Festival and a delegation of Northwest Indiana officials to explore business partnerships with China. Valpo’s Confucius Institute also sponsors a number of Chinese language and cultural courses and events for the public.