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Wesleyan Bringing More Mandarin Chinese to Macon

6:16 PM, May 16, 2013   |    comments
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Bibb County's public schools gained national attention for their move to teach Mandarin Chinese to public elementary school students.

Those teachers were from the Confucius Institute at Kennesaw State University. Last month, Wesleyan College opened its own Confucius Institute, hoping to bring Chinese language and culture to the community.

The $150,000 program is funded from the Hanban institute in Beijing, which is affiliated with the Chinese ministry of education.

The program at Wesleyan hopes to bring Chinese classes and programs to the college and also to local private schools in Macon.

"A few days a week, hopefully five days a week," says program coordinator Emily Jarvis.

Wesleyan was chosen for the fourth Confucius Institute in Georgia in part because of its history. Two of the Soong sisters, who married Chinese leaders, graduated from the school in the early 1900s, and this year marks the 100th anniversary of the second sister's graduation.

They also say Wesleyan has around a quarter of its population as international students, including many from China.

It's why they hope the program will both teach people a language valuable for the business world, and impact the community.

"That's my great hope," says co-director Dr. Isadora Jiang. "There are beautiful people here with beautiful hearts and minds."

Follow Tom George on Twitter @thetomgeorge

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