UKIC / Confucius Institute / Our Story

Our Story

The Confucius Institute at the University of Kentucky is the center for Chinese language, culture, and business.  

A gateway to China for the university and the Commonwealth, the Institute serves as a conduit for many of UK’s China initiatives, facilitating a range of China exchange programs across the campus and beyond.  

The Institute also works to strengthen China studies at the university, while at the same time providing leadership and support for Chinese language programs in Kentucky’s K-12 classrooms, and forging important community relationships through Chinese cultural outreach to people in the Commonwealth. 

Our History

Since its inception on Nov. 6, 2010, the Confucius Institute at the University of Kentucky has become the gold standard in serving as the portal between China and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Since its inauguration, attended by US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Senator Mitch McConnell, and then-US Congressman Ben Chandler, the University of Kentucky Confucius Institute (UKCI) has grown, flourished, and continued to serve as Kentucky’s gateway to China in the areas of education, arts, culture, and business.

Over its history, the UKCI has been named the Confucius Institute of the Year three times: first in 2012 before earning the distinction again in 2014, and most recently in 2017. In 2013, Huajing Maske, Executive Director of the UKCI, was named the Confucius Institute’s Director of the Year. Additionally, the UKCI has been named the Global Model by the Confucius Institute, making it the flagship program among the 525 Confucius Institutes in 146 countries worldwide.

On September 25, 2017, the UKCI underwent one of its largest changes to date, relocating to the Lucille Little Fine Arts Library. After being awarded $1.7 million by the Confucius Institute Headquarters, the UKCI had a new home, transforming formerly unremarkable rooms and storage areas into a striking, modern, and functional space to house the model program. The space now houses select Confucius Institute programs in a central location on campus. 

Our Impact

Since 2010, the UKCI has been a staple of the University of Kentucky’s campus, serving UK’s strategic plan and core mission. During this period, the Confucius Institute’s resources have provided a positive impact for UK in multiple ways:

  • 14 of the 16 different colleges on UK’s campus are engaged with China through involvement of the UKCI.
  • 268 students studied abroad in China over the past five years through UKCI programs.
  • 110 of those students received scholarships or travel grants through the UKCI for the programs.
  • 93 faculty members have also completed UKCI study abroad programs in the past five years.
  • Since 2016 alone, the UK Confucius Institute has funded over $110,000 in travel grants and scholarships for University of Kentucky students and faculty to learn and teach in China.
  • The UKCI provided over $467,000 in programming for UK’s campus and the community in 2017, with over $716,000 in additional program funding slated for 2018.


The UKCI’s impact spreads beyond the University of Kentucky’s campus as well, impacting K-12 education in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the local community in a multitude of ways:

  • 17,000 students in Kentucky are studying Chinese due to the UKCI’s installation of Chinese language programs.
  • 2,000 Chinese teachers have participated in ongoing professional development series hosted by the UKCI since 2010.
  • 640 Chinese teachers from 26 different states have attended the UKCI’s other training programs.
  • Over 200 Kentucky social studies teachers have attended Chinese culture professional development courses created and administered by the UKCI.
  • 159 high school students and 100 Kentucky educators have studied abroad through UKCI funded programs.
  • Over the past five years, the UKCI has hosted 1,070 cultural showcases for area schools.
  • The UKCI has hosted 270 additional Chinese cultural demonstrations for the community.
  • Nearly 53,000 people have been reached by the UKCI’s community programming and the number continues to grow.


The Confucius Institute at the University of Kentucky continues to grow and expand its offerings day-by-day and invites you to see how you can benefit from its many programs. 


2017 Annual Report

Welcome to the UK International Center! Bradley Hall is currently open for document drop-off and appointments only. Please contact a member of our team to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you!