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Nationalities institutes in China provide educational opportunities for minority students who might otherwise never gain access to higher education. They were established throughout China in the 1950s in response to a critical need for skilled minority professionals and higher education of Chinese Communist Party cadres. The Central University for Nationalities in Beijing plays an important role in the higher education of China’s minority nationalities.
The Central University for Nationalities in Beijing is one of thirteen tertiary (post-secondary) institutes in China specifically dedicated to the education of minority students; it was the first such institution to be established in China. Officially established as the Central Institute of Nationalities 中央民族学院 in June 1951, the name was changed to Central University for Nationalities in November 1993.