Kennesaw State University has been selected to house Georgia’s second “Confucius Institute,” one of the newest in a worldwide network of educational centers funded by the Chinese government to promote China’s language and culture.

The new institute is expected to open in the fall, joining some 40 others in the U.S. and more than 200 established around the world.

Kennesaw officials welcomed the selection as another bridge with China, where the university is pursuing a variety of educational goals.

“This is how we build better appreciation for the cultural heritage, philosophy and ethics of those with whom we hope to build relationships,” said Akanmu Adebayo, executive director of Kennesaw’s Institute for Global Initiatives.

Under an administrative agreement with 35,000-student Yangzhou University in China’s Jiangsu province, the institute at Kennesaw will offer language classes and cultural activities for students, professionals and the broader community.

Kennesaw will draw teachers for the institute from its Asia-focused faculty, most likely enlisting help from its 37 faculty members and 51 students of Chinese origin, as well as its 80 students currently enrolled in Chinese language courses.

Emory University launched Georgia’s first Confucius Institute at east Atlanta’s Coan Middle School on March 19 in partnership with Atlanta Public Schools and Nanjing University, which is also in Jiangsu.

Kennesaw’s announcement comes as high-level officials from the university have visited China recently to fortify longstanding educational ties with the Asian nation and diversify China-related curricula.

Daniel Papp, Kennesaw’s president, is in the midst of an eight-day trip to China, where he recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Yangzhou University outlining the specifics of the partnership.

During the trip, he is also to finalize agreements with the Chinese government’s Office of Language Council International, which runs the Confucius program.

Dr. Papp will make stops in the cities of Beijing, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai and Yangzhou.

His journey began the day after the return of a Kennesaw delegation that accompanied Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue on the state’s first official business mission to Shanghai and Beijing.

On that trip, Mr. Perdue cut the ribbon on a Georgia trade office in Beijing—the state’s 11th international office—and formally launched a partnership between the University of Georgia and Tsinghua University.

Sheb True, a professor of marketing and the director of the International Center in Kennesaw’s Coles College of Business and Stella Xu, an adjunct management and entrepreneurship professor, represented Kennesaw on the mission.

Ms. Xu served as Mr. Perdue’s interpreter. Dr. True made a presentation on Kennesaw’s China programs at a breakfast briefing in Beijing and met with Kennesaw faculty participating in an exchange with a university in the city of Dalian.

The recent blitz and collaboration with the state shows that the school, which has two programs by which Chinese students can obtain Kennesaw MBA degrees in China, is on the right track, Mr. Papp said.

“KSU is pursuing the same leadership path to building relationship with China as Gov. Perdue,” Mr. Papp said.

Dr. True, who had been to China a few times before, said that the breakfast briefing in Beijing gave him a forum to explain Kennesaw’s reach to many Atlanta businesspeople.

“A lot of the local delegates there from companies and organizations don’t realize how much Kennesaw is actually doing,” he told GlobalAtlanta.

This summer, Kennesaw students will participate in three study-abroad programs in China.

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...

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