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Cultural Diplomacy and Internationalization of Higher Education: The Experience of Three Confucius Institutes in Canada

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This paper is based on a study of three Confucius Institutes in Canada. The research aims to explore the nature of operations at Confucius Institutes, ranging from the selection of partnering Chinese universities, to the program planning at each individual site. Specifically, it focuses on the perceived impacts of the Confucius Institute partnership on the Canadian hosting institutions. Data was collected through interviews with key administrative staff from three Canadian universities. The theoretical framework of constructivism from international relations theory and concepts drawn from the literature on the internationalization of higher education were used to analyze the findings. Key issues revealed from the data include the host’s perception of Confucius Institutes as China’s cultural diplomacy and soft power strategy, the progression of partnerships between Canada and China over time, and university autonomy.


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