China, Xavier University of Louisiana, National Urban League, Wilson Global Communications Take “Big Easy” Approach to Promoting Cross-Cultural Relationships, Understanding through Confucius Institute

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Xavier University of Louisiana Becomes 1st Historically Black College/University (HBCU) to Open Chinese Confucius Institute in New Orleans. Institute Will Teach Chinese Language & Culture.

(NEW ORLEANS) – For centuries, the Great Wall of China served as a barrier protecting that nation from intrusions by nomadic tribes and other would-be invaders. This week, Xavier University of Louisiana and a university and diplomatic delegation from China take historic steps to tear down barriers to improve cross cultural communication, education and cooperation, as Xavier becomes the first among 110 Historically Black Colleges and Universities to establish a Confucius Institute in the U.S.

Xavier inaugurated its brand new Confucius Institute tonight with a gala dinner celebration with speakers including New Orleans’ Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Chinese Consul General Xu Erwen.

There are more than 500 Confucius Institutes worldwide, with 81 of them in 48 states in the U.S. The Institutes are designed to teach the Chinese language and culture to students, and surrounding communities. Xavier is not only the first HBCU in America to establish an Institute, but it is the only black and Catholic university in the U.S.

“This is an opportunity for Xavier University of Louisiana to do some of the things we do best: innovate, create and lead,” said Xavier’s president Dr. Norman C. Francis at the inauguration. “As the intellectual, economic, scholarly, and social worlds become more international and transnational, our faculty, staff, students and community-at-large must understand other cultures and other societies in order to be successful in today’s world.”

Dr. Francis credited the work of Marc H. Morial and the National Urban League, which led a Trade and Cultural Mission to China in February 2010, for opening doors to negotiations that culminated in bringing the Confucius Institute to Xavier.

“I’m proud that this marks the beginning of what I think is a continuing effort by Xavier to assert itself in a new and emerging global marketplace,” said Mr. Morial, president and CEO for the NUL in a videotaped message played tonight during the President’s Gala. “This is a great day for Xavier. It’s a great day for China-U.S. relations. It’s a great day for the National Urban League.”

The visit to China was hosted by the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) under the leadership of Mr. Tung Chee Hwa, Hong Kong’s first elected governor and vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

“At a time when the United States-China relationship is shaping world events at large, Xavier’s Confucius Institute will play a vital role in enhancing better understanding between peoples of the United States and China,” said Alan Wong, Executive Director of the China-United States Exchange Foundation.

The National Urban League’s visit to China and subsequent delegations to China were organized by Wilson Global Communications, a Washington, D.C. international public relations consultancy, headed by CEO and Founder Julia A. Wilson, a former American journalist who pioneered her firm in South Africa.

“Xavier has become a model agent of change for HBCUs and people of color throughout America, to learn more about China and its peoples,” Wilson said. “This historic agreement between the Chinese government and Xavier was the only Confucius Institute approved in Beijing this past December, where Xavier’s senior vice president Dr. Loren Blanchard traveled and participated in a formal signing ceremony,” Wilson said.

About Wilson Global Communications

Wilson Global Communications, LLC is an international strategic public relations and marketing communications consulting firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1994 in Johannesburg, South Africa by Julia A. Wilson, a former print and broadcast journalist, Wilson Global Communications provides strategic communications services in the Americas, China, Europe, and various countries in Africa. Wilson Global Communications specializes in public and diplomatic relations, international educational exchange program development, special event management and promotion, international trade and cultural mission management and media relations and development, including television and radio show creation and production.
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About Xavier University of Louisiana

Xavier University of Louisiana, founded by Saint Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, is Catholic and historically Black. The ultimate purpose of the University is to contribute to the promotion of a more just and humane society by preparing its students to assume roles of leadership and service in a global society. This preparation takes place in a diverse learning and teaching environment that incorporates all relevant educational means, including research and community service.
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About the National Urban League

The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. Founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York City, the National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy. Today, there are nearly 100 local affiliates in 36 states and the District of Columbia, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people nationwide. The NUL focuses on four main areas: Jobs, Education, Health and Housing and has targeted programs and initiatives under each of these sectors.
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