Chicago hub of Chinese learning in US
By Wang Zhuoqiong(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-05-17 06:10
Chicago is no longer a "hog butcher, tool maker, stacker of wheat, player with railroads
and freight handler" in the US heartland, as poet Carl Sandburg described nearly 100
It is now a global city that boasts the largest Chinese language teaching programme of
all US cities, opportunities accessible to business people from all over the world, and a
strong desire to host the 2016 Olympics, visiting Mayor Richard Daley said yesterday.
In an interview with China Daily, the mayor said Chicago would expand its Chinese-
language teaching system at public schools and invite more certified teachers from
China to meet the demand for teaching staff.
Daley, who has earned a national reputation for his innovative leadership and
community-based programmes, launched the Chinese language programmes at three
public schools in 1999.
Now, the city has the nation's earliest and largest language learning system, said Robert
Davis, director of the Confucius Institute in Chicago, which was launched last week.
About 20 public schools have Chinese classes and more than 3,500 study the language
with the number of learners growing.
A scion of one of America's best-known political families, Daley considerd a man of
vision was first elected mayor of Chicago in 1989 and has remained in office since. He
was rated one of the country's best mayors by Time magazine last year.
His promotion of the Chinese-language programme is part of an effort to build a global
"We have to understand the important role that China plays in the changing global
economy and be more prepared," Daley said. "Chinese is as important as English as a
language of commerce."
The programme, said Daley, is not only to teach the language, but also the customs and
traditions of China which is exactly what the Confucius Institute in Chicago tries to do.
Unlike other Confucius institutes set up by the central government to promo