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September 7, 2007

Scholars gather at Purdue to discuss Chinese language, culture

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
Wei Hong
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Education and business leaders will present research and ideas on how businesses can be successful in China at the second Business Chinese Language and Culture Conference Sept. 21-22 at Purdue University.

Sponsored by the Confucius Institute at Purdue University and the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), the conference will examine the best ways to teach Chinese culture and language to people in United States corporations with interests in China. Attendees will be educators and business people who are interested in developing programs to work with companies in China.

Greg Hundley
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"China has a long history and distinctive culture, as well as a language that's very difficult to learn, so it's important for people in U.S. companies to know how to behave when doing business there," said Greg Hundley, a Krannert professor and the center's director. "There are many examples of unsuccessful attempts to do business in China because of a lack of understanding the culture. But there are other good examples of U.S. businesses doing very well, and it's because they're aware of the cultural context of working there."

The keynote speaker will be John Becker, director of international business development at Cummins Inc., an Indiana company with many representatives in China.

Professors and corporate trainers will present sessions on topics such as incorporating Chinese programs into current Chinese curriculums and teaching business Chinese online.

CIBER sponsored the first conference on teaching the Chinese language and culture two years ago at Purdue. Hundley said the hope is to offer it on a more regular basis now that the center has teamed with the Confucius Institute at Purdue University.

"Many colleges are adding business Chinese into their regular Chinese language programs to meet the needs of students who wish to engage with China as their future career choices," said Wei Hong, director of the Confucius Institute. "This conference not only aims at U.S. companies to seek their needs in hiring employees with language and cultural expertise, but also at Chinese language teaching professionals on developing proper business Chinese textbooks, curriculum and exchanging ideas on teaching strategies. It serves as a forum for both groups to get together to communicate on how to train our future business leaders to be globally competitive, especially in China as a rising world economy."

The Confucius Institute at Purdue University, which opened May 14, is the result of a collaboration among the colleges of Liberal Arts and Engineering and the Krannert School of Management, as well as the Shanghai Jiaotong University in Shanghai, China. The institute offers Chinese language and cultural programs such as this one for students and the public.

"This gathering is a wonderful exchange of ideas between academics and people in corporations," Hundley said. "The need to learn about how cultural differences can affect business relations is extremely important, not only in China, but also around the world. If you have a knowledge of the culture, you have a better understanding of the market."

Writer: Maggie Morris, (765) 494-2432, maggiemorris@purdue.edu

Sources:Greg Hundley, (765) 494-4508, ghundley@purdue.edu

Wei Hong, (765) 494-3859, hongwei@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

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