The U.S. Department of State has selected Southern Utah University as one of ten U.S. higher education institutions this year to receive a grant to establish an American Cultural Center in China. A joint undertaking between SUU and Hunan Normal University (HNU), the center will be housed on the HNU campus in Changsha.
The main purpose of the American Cultural Center of Changsha is to foster understanding of American culture, history, values, policies and institutions by students, faculty and local community members. No less important is the goal of conveying to the Chinese people the good will and generosity of the American people.
According to SUU Music Professor Xun Sun, who is originally from China, “It’s so important to inform the younger generation of Chinese, especially college students, about American culture, the U.S. political system and democratic institutions. This center will create a path toward more discussion and less conflict between the U.S. and China.”
Beginning in March, 2013, the American Cultural Center of Changsha (ACCC) will offer weekly activities including lectures, service projects, book clubs, film screenings and English language tutoring sessions on a designated theme each month. Themes will include U.S. geography, history, government, law, culture, economy, business, women’s rights and education. The ACCC will also sponsor events such as an annual conference, U.S. holiday celebrations and provide resources and instruction by SUU professors and students in both live meetings and online.
Instructional references will include classic American novels, poetry, films, documentaries, social media and a dedicated ACCC website with an Information Resource Center. All of the activities, instruction and resources will be coordinated by Southern Utah University and Hunan Normal University, with both American and Chinese input.
To support its goals, the ACCC aims to meet five primary learning objectives:
(1) competency in U.S. culture, history and institutions; (2) community service as an American value; (3) English language proficiency; (4) development of global citizens with an international worldview and (5) a desire for life-long learning.
The U.S. Department of State award is part of a group of grants through which the U.S. Mission to China seeks to build a network of programs that promote greater understanding of the United States among the Chinese public and youth. Through the ACCC, many students, faculty and citizens of Changsha will gain a deep understanding of American cultural diversity and rich U.S. history. SUU and HNU will work closely to ensure that the American Cultural Center of Changsha will continue to fulfill its mission after grant funding concludes.