The Confucius Institute at New Mexico State University was inaugurated in August of 2007 with the purpose of increasing awareness and understanding of Chinese language and culture in the community through education, performances, seminars, and outreach. The Institute is an academic unit of NMSU, and its establishment builds upon existing cooperative agreements between NMSU and the Shijiazhuang Language and Culture Exchange College, in Hebei Province, China. This agreement has allowed NMSU students to study in China, and has facilitated the development of Chinese language instruction at NMSU since 2001.
The Confucius Institute carries out a variety of activities and programs. The most significant of these have been the launching of Chinese language instruction in the Las Cruces Public Schools, including three elementary schools and the Alma d.Arte Charter School for the Arts; a Speakers Series (bringing nationally renowned experts on China to campus twice each semester); academic conferences (.US-China-Mexico Relations., May 2008 and an upcoming .China-Africa-US. conference); and community oriented open houses at the Confucius Institute Resource Center. The CI also provides consultation services for local businesses and community organizations, scholarship support for NMSU students, faculty or staff travelling to China, and Chinese language teacher training.
The Confucius Institute collaborates with other NMSU units and organizations, including the Chinese Scholars and Students Association, the Center for International Programs, the International Relations Institute, the Aggies Go Global group, the Las Cruces Academy for Learning in Retirement, and the Las Cruces and Gadsden public school systems. In addition the Confucius Institute at NMSU works cooperatively with other CIs in the region, particularly the Confucius Institute at the Autonomous University of Chichuahua and the CI at the University of Texas -- El Paso.