This year marks the 10th anniversary of the UK Confucius Institute – an essential part of our campus that has made an indelible mark on our community. And, at the end of January, we celebrated Chinese New Year.
Our friends in China are experiencing a trying time. There are members of our community who are concerned about their family and loved ones overseas, and it is our job to wrap our arms around them to provide support in any way we can – especially during difficult moments such as these.
Moments that – despite their gravity – compel us to demonstrate our humanity and grace toward one another in everything we do.
At UK, more than a dozen partnerships have been established with Chinese universities because of the hardworking individuals at the Confucius Institute.
Every day – without pause – they’ve demonstrated what’s wildly possible as a global institution; one that reaches all corners of our nation and countries overseas.
In fact, hundreds of students from China come to UK each year to become Wildcats, and hundreds of University students – as well as faculty and staff -- travel to China for expansive education and research opportunities that propel our institution forward.
But it’s important to remember the Confucius Institute’s impact reaches beyond our campus.
Their thoughtful programming allows 15,000 Kentucky students from 27 elementary, middle, and high schools to study Chinese.
It has established multiple high school exchange programs between these high schools and Chinese high schools; in fact, more than 200 high school students from Kentucky studied in China this past summer.
It bridges the gap between our institutions and the broader community through performances, displays, and demonstrations that deepen our understanding of and appreciation for Chinese culture.
We are a richer, more vibrant campus because of it.
The Confucius Institute has reminded us that individuals come from all over the world to be a part of our community, and we embrace them.
When we accept them wholly and completely, we make an impact on their lives as they make a profound impact on ours.
I wish you all a wonderful new year and, importantly, a healthy one. Thank you for being a part of our community that cares for everyone in it and for contributing so much to our mission and call to serve.