The Confucius Institute at The University of Western Australia (UWACI) has received global recognition for its success in teaching Chinese language and cross-cultural understanding in Western Australia.
Established in 2004, the Confucius Institute is a non-profit public institution that promotes Chinese language and culture abroad.
The 2014 "Confucius Institute of the Year" award recognised 25 of the 475 Confucius Institutes and 851 Confucius Classrooms in primary and secondary schools that have been established in 126 countries and regions worldwide including UWACI.
UWACI's most high-profile Chinese language student, Nobel Laureate Professor Barry Marshall, delivered his first major speech in Mandarin at the weekend as part of the 9th Global Confucius Institute Conference in Xiamen.
"Because of the bacteria I discovered, which is a major cause of stomach ulcers, I have visited many places in China and worked with the Chinese doctors in diagnosing and treating stomach illness," Professor Marshall said. "How embarrassed I felt because I could not speak Chinese during my first visit to China when I was almost mistaken as a foreigner trying to illegally take an adopted Chinese child," he said. "That was the day I resolved to learn Chinese!"
UWA Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) and Chairman of the Board of UWACI, Iain Watt, said the award acknowledged UWACI's commitment to fostering greater understanding and engagement between China and Australia.
"UWACI is committed to developing the relationship between Western Australia and China both now and into the future," Mr Watt said.
"The award is recognition of the UWACI's achievement and great credit to the CI staff," UWACI Director Professor Fan Hong said.
UWACI was the first Confucius Institute to be established in Australia in 2005. With the support from the CI headquarters and Zhejiang University, the UWACI team has achieved growing success in providing Chinese language programs to the university community and supporting Chinese language and culture in primary and secondary schools across WA.