Joan Brzezinski, executive director of the University’s China Center and Confucius Institute.
Joan Brzezinski has been named executive director of the University of Minnesota’s China Center and Confucius Institute.
Brzezinski has been the interim director of the China Center while serving in her permanent position as director of the Confucius Institute. In this new position, she will oversee all projects and programming within both units, including fundraising for China initiatives and identifying opportunities to expand the University system’s relationships in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
“We look forward to the new opportunities and efficiencies that will come from the China Center and Confucius Institute working even more closely under the same strong leadership,” said a statement from the China Center Board of Directors.
Brzezinski joined the China Center at the University of Minnesota in 1997 and was promoted to assistant director in 2003. In 2006, she coordinated the University’s efforts to establish a Confucius Institute, becoming its first director in 2008. Joan has experience working in China and the U.S. in a variety of positions in tourism, travel marketing, and operations, and as a business consultant to companies working in China.
She currently serves on the advisory committee for the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA), as a board member of the US-China Peoples Friendship Association Minnesota Chapter, and as an adviser for the US-China Healthcare Information Exchange (USCHIE). Joan graduated from Hamline University with a bachelor’s degree in East Asian history and a Master of International Management degree from the University of St. Thomas.
The China Center was established in 1979 to manage the University of Minnesota’s exchanges with the People’s Republic of China. For more than three decades, the China Center has reflected the firm and long-standing commitment of the University to international research, teaching, and outreach.
The history of the China Center starts with the first admission of Chinese students to the University in 1914. The University’s commitment to academic exchange with China only grew from there. A brief timeline of China Center activities and accomplishments is available.
An advisory board of distinguished leaders from the University of Minnesota, the business community, Minnesota government, and the local community oversee the China Center and recommends annual project plans. Learn more about the China Center Advisory Council.
The China Center is operated within the University of Minnesota’s Global Programs and Strategy Alliance by a small staff of dedicated individuals. The China Center also oversees the administration of the University’s office in Beijing. Learn more about China Center staff.
In 2003, the China Center organized the Corporate Partnership that is committed to fostering U.S.-China business relationships that result in harmonious and profitable collaborations between U.S. and Chinese business people. Learn more about the China Center Corporate Partnership.