Confucius Institute Celebrates Five Years

Chinese lion dance at Confucius Institute's 5th Anniversay celebration

Awards, cultural performances and cuisine highlight anniversary celebration   Click here…

Georgia (Nov 13, 2013)

Awards, cultural performances and cuisine highlight anniversary celebration  

Click here to view video commemorating the Confucius Institute's Fifth Anniversary

The Confucius Institute at Kennesaw State University (CIKSU) celebrated its Fifth Anniversary Nov. 8 with an awards ceremony recognizing individuals and organizations that have contributed to the Institute’s award-winning programming since its inception.

The awards were presented to 24 leaders representing public education in Georgia, local business, civic and cultural organizations and the campus community. The ceremony capped a gala evening of Chinese music, dance, martial arts and authentic cuisine. 

"When CIKSU started in the fall of 2008, we had no program, no students, and no teachers,” said Ken Jin, executive director of CIKSU, which was named one of the best Confucius Institutes among more than 400 such institutes worldwide in 2012. “Now, we have about 10,000 students enrolled in our programs from pre-K to college, and more than 500 students and professionals have traveled to China to learn Chinese language, culture and education best practices with CIKSU's grants.”

CIKSU has relied on strategic partnerships with government agencies, educational institutions, and companies in the U.S. and China, Jin noted.    

As part of the festivities, CIKSU welcomed a delegation of six administrators from Yangzhou University, a longtime CIKSU partner in China. Yangzhou University Vice President Baisen Ye led the delegation and congratulated the Institute on its accomplishments over the past five years. 

CIKSU provides language and cultural instruction to children enrolled in lottery-funded pre-K programs in Hall and Cobb counties and to K-12 students in Hall, Cobb, DeKalb and Bibb counties. During the 2013-2014 academic year, 40 specially trained teacher/research assistants from Yangzhou University are providing Chinese language instruction in schools and daycare centers. CIKSU also supports local corporations engaged in or seeking business relationships in China.     

Among those honored during the ceremony were officials from partnering state agencies that have helped facilitate CIKSU’s language instruction programs. Susan Adams, assistant commissioner of Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning; and Kristin Bernhard, education policy advisor to Gov. Nathan Deal, accepted awards during the ceremony. John Barge, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Education, and Bobby Cagle, commissioner of Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, also were among the honorees.      

Other honorees included:

  • Will Schofield, superintendent of Hall County Schools;
  • Greg Ewing, district supervisor of ESOL and foreign language programs for the Cobb County School District;
  • Shirley Davis, director of the Georgia Appalachian Center for Higher Education (GACHE) at the University of North Georgia;
  • Jeff Cohen, executive director of the C5 Youth Foundation Georgia;
  • Jo Dinnan, principal of Wauka Mountain Multiple Intelligences Academy; and
  • Kennesaw State’s Barry Morris, vice provost for strategic initiatives; Arlethia Perry-Johnson, vice president for external affairs; and Gary Coltek, director and chef de cuisine of culinary and hospitality services.  

Appreciation awards also were presented to:

  • Cyril Turner, president of Delta Global Services, Delta Air Lines;
  • Jay Heap, director of virtual learning for the Georgia Department of Education; and
  • Jane Drennan, former deputy superintendent of the Bibb County School District.

Kennesaw State administrators and staff receiving awards of appreciation included:

  • Charles Amlaner, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate College;
  • Dan Paracka, director of academic initiatives for the Institute for Global Initiatives;
  • Jenifer Duggan, director of campus dining and culinary services;
  • Michele Miller, exchange coordinator in the Education Abroad Office;
  • Rifka Mayani, associate director of operations, Enterprise Systems and Services; and
  • David Daly, director of programming and facilities for the School of Music.

Guests enjoyed an evening of traditional Chinese cultural arts, including a lion dance and other traditional dances performed by students from North Cobb High School and the Atlanta International School; a Chinese kung fu demonstration by Jingyuan Liu, a martial arts instructor from Yangzhou University; and vocal and instrumental performances by CIKSU staff. Prior to the ceremony, Bufeng Ji, a visiting celebrity chef from Yangzhou, prepared authentic Chinese dishes for guests at the Jolley Lodge. 

“We’re very proud of the job our staff is doing to help enhance and strengthen foreign language education throughout Georgia,” Jin said. “We’re especially grateful to all of our partners and supporters in China, across Georgia and right here on the campus of Kennesaw State. I am certain that what we are doing is making a positive contribution to the state’s economic development as Georgia’s economy becomes increasingly global.”


Sabbaye McGriff 


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit