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November 2, 2010

Confucius Institute Opens at SUNY College of Optometry

The opening ceremony for the Confucius Institute at the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Optometry was held last week.

Confucius Institutes are now funded at nearly 300 institutions worldwide for the purpose of stimulating learning about Chinese language and culture. Each funded institution partners with an institution of higher education in China.  SUNY College of Optometry’s partner is Wenzhou Medical College with which it already has several other programmatic initiatives.

David Heath, President of SUNY College of Optometry, hailed the opening of the Confucius Institute as: "…a key element in the College’s strategic initiative to impart a better understanding of healthcare in general, and optometry in particular, worldwide.,"  He further stated that, "Initiatives in China, primarily through our partnership with Wenzhou Medical College, have provided a sound footing for the development of our international programs."

Featured speakers at the opening ceremony include President David Heath of  SUNY College of Optometry, President Qu Jia of Wenzhou Medical College,Hon. Peng Keyu, Consul-General of the Peoples Republic of China in New York and Dr. Mitch Leventhal, SUNY Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs.

The Confucius Institute at SUNY College of Optometry provides programs and courses in Chinese language and culture with special emphasis on the healthcare system in China. Classes are be open to SUNY students and faculty as well as to the general public and are particularly applicable for anyone who plans on working or studying in any of the health care fields or in biomedical research in China.  The learning experience will enable these individuals to have a better understanding of the culture of providers and patients and of existing practices such as traditional Chinese medicine.

The Confucius Institute at SUNY College of Optometry is the first such entity established at an optometric institution, and it is also the first one established at a specialized health professions institution of any type.

Dr. Michael Heiberger, Director of International Programs at SUNY College of Optometry serves as Institute Director.  The Deputy Director is Dr. LiLi Tu, a faculty member at Wenzhou Medical College.