China Institute in America is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution located in New York City. It operates programs in both the United States and China with the hope of fostering understanding between the two nations.

China Institute in America was founded in 1926 as a nonprofit educational and cultural institution to promote a deeper understanding of China through programs in education, culture, business, and art in the belief that cross-cultural understanding strengthens the global community. Its programs are designed for people of all ages and backgrounds, including children, businesspeople, artists, and educators.

China Institute was founded by a group of American and Chinese educators that included John Dewey, Hu Shih, Paul Monroe, and Kuo Ping-wen. The idea for the institute was born after the educational philosopher John Dewey spent eighteen months lecturing and teaching in China. He realized the majority of students he met knew a great deal about the United States, but that the same could not be said for American students’ knowledge of China. Upon his return he founded the institute with the hope that it would encourage Americans to learn more about China. Using $25,000 from the China Foundation, which administered the money China had paid as reparations for the Boxer Rebellion, Dewey, along with his student Hu Shih, who would go on to become a leader of the May Fourth Movement, started China Institute in New York.

It is the oldest bicultural organization in American devoted exclusively to China and houses one of the longest-running schools of Chinese studies in the United States. It teaches Chinese to children and adults, offers professional development opportunities for K–12 educators, develops K–12 curriculum, and promotes Chinese culture through its exhibitions and programs about traditional and contemporary Chinese arts and culture. It administers a number of overseas study opportunities for both teenagers and adults. The institute hosts in-house and traveling art exhibitions that are accompanied by scholarly expositions, curators’ lectures, and other programs that provide an in-depth background to Chinese art. In addition, the institute sponsors lecture series, short courses, symposia, film screenings, and workshops covering a range of traditional and contemporary topics, including history, literature, and philosophy.

The institute also provides executives from around the world with forums for networking and information sharing on critical issues in U.S.-China business relations, including an annual China Institute executive summit, regular panel discussions and speeches, and a corporate language program.

A Closer Look at John Dewey

In this brief biography of John Dewey, an American educator who was highly influential in China, his dedication to learning and to social change is apparent.

John Dewey was born in Burlington, Vermont, on October 20th 1859. After a period as a school-teacher, he became a graduate student in philosophy at Johns Hopkins University, under the tutelage of the Idealist George S. Morris. With Morris, he left Johns Hopkins to take up a position at the University of Michigan. Dewey’s early philosophical work was characterized by the attempt to combine the tenets of the Idealism imbibed from Morris with the emerging approach of experimental psychology to understanding the mind, exemplified by the work of another of Dewey’s colleagues, G. Stanley Hall. Through the 1890s, and particularly after a move to the newly founded University of Chicago in 1894, Dewey began a steady drift away from Idealist metaphysics, a process that he describes in an autobiographical essay “From Absolutism to Experimentalism”…

… Dewey left Chicago in 1904 for the Columbia University, where he remained until his retirement. Dewey’s immense philosophical and other written output…extends over a long working life and encompasses most areas of philosophy as well as a host of other educational, social and political concerns. At the core of what may be called his “mature” outlook, expressed in his essay “The Need for a Recovery of Philosophy” (1917), is a concern that philosophy turns away from pseudo-problems in epistemology and metaphysics to concern itself with the “problems of men.” This was a proposal for the recovery of philosophy, not for its abandonment, and it is very much as a philosopher that Dewey approaches these problems, not (on the whole) as the architect of detailed institutional reforms…. Dewey’s interest in education was embedded in a wider concern about progressive social change. He was a supporter of such causes as women’s suffrage and the Settlement House movement of his friend Jane Addams. His immense range of public and political activities included presidency of the teachers’ union, sponsorship of the ACLU, support for the “Outlawry of War” movement in the interwar years, chairing the People’s Lobby, and (persuaded by his Sidney Hook) participation in the “trial” of Leon Trotsky in Mexico in 1938. After his move to New York, and particularly after the onset of the First World War, a substantial part of his published output consisted of commentary on current domestic and international politics, and public statements on behalf of many causes.

Source: Festenstein, Matthew.. (2005). John Dewey. In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved March 9, 2009, from

Further Reading

Björkell, S. (2008, March 14). The China Institute of New YorkEight decades of promoting Chinese culture. Retrieved September 4, 2008, from

China Institute in America. (2008). Retrieved September 4, 2008, from

Source: The Editors (2009). China Institute in America. In Linsun Cheng, et al. (Eds.), Berkshire Encyclopedia of China, pp. 340–341. Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing.

China Institute in America (Huá-ěi Xiéjìnshè 华美协进会)|Huá-ěi Xiéjìnshè 华美协进会 (China Institute in America)

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