2010 Oceania, South & West Asia Regional Meeting of Confucius Institutes Commences

[Source]    Division of Confucius Institute Affairs [Time]    2010-07-22 15:36:07 

Deputy Director Zhao Guocheng making speech at the opening ceremony

Auckland, July 13-14, 2010—The 2010 Oceania, South & West Asia Regional Meeting of Confucius Institutes was held between July 13th and 14th in Auckland. The meeting was sponsored by Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters and organized by the Confucius Institute in Auckland. Over 70 delegates of 20 Confucius Institutes in Oceania, west and south Asian countries, Hanban representatives as well as educational diplomats from Chinese embassies and consulates in Australia and New Zealand participated in the meeting. Chinese State Council Consultant Qiao Zonghuai, Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Zhang Limin, Hanban Deputy Director Zhao Guocheng and leaders of the University of Auckland attended the opening ceremony for the meetings.

Christopher Tremewan, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland chaired the opening ceremony and explained that the Confucius Institute in Auckland was the first Confucius Institute to be established in New Zealand and one of the world’s earliest Confucius Institutes. Due to the signing of New Zealand – China Free Trade Agreement and the closer links between the two countries; more and more Zealanders have begun to learn Chinese and understand Chinese culture.

Ambassador Zhang Limin making a speech at the opening ceremony

Ambassador Zhang Limin explained the latest on the development of Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms in New Zealand, pointing out that the government of New Zealand and educators are paying closer attention to Chinese learning, at present amongst the 2,000 plus primary and secondary schools in New Zealand, 89 have established Chinese programs. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key stated on July 9th when celebrating the Pavilion Day of New Zealand at the Shanghai World Expo that he hopes that more schools in New Zealand will offer Chinese programs.

The book exhibition held during the meeting

Hanban Deputy Director Zhao Guocheng made a keynote speech offering a briefing on the development of Confucius Institutes around the world and particularly in Oceania, west and south Asia, hoping that extensive discussions regarding the construction of teacher resources, the development of local Chinese teaching materials and the promotion of Chinese among primary and secondary schools will be made throughout the meeting in order to further improve related works, realize the sustainable development of Confucius Institutes and formulate new plans.

During the two day meeting, delegates shared with one another their own experiences and achievements, carrying out wide-ranging and in-depth discussions on the orientation and enrollment at Confucius Institutes, development of Chinese teaching methods and teaching materials, cultivation of local Chinese teachers, Chinese programs in primary and secondary schools and Confucius Classrooms. On the afternoon of July 14th, the Confucius Institute in Auckland launched a book exhibition and a seminar entitled “Confucius Institutes and Chinese Promotion in New Zealand”, some officials from the Ministry of Education of New Zealand, principals of local schools and Chinese teacher representatives attended the seminar. Subsequent to the seminar, Qiao Zonghuai, former Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister and current Chinese State Council Consultant made a remarkable keynote lecture. Delegates agreed upon the fact that the meeting has offered an exchange platform for Confucius Institutes due to its clear theme, rich content and diversified forms.

Deputy Director Zhao Guocheng mentioned in his closing speech that through the two days of meetings, delegates have gained a better understanding of the orientations of and current state of affairs at Confucius Institutes. Confucius Institutes are presently at a stage at which they can explore experiences and further develop themselves. He asked participating delegates to stick to the commitment of Confucius Institutes, proceed in the freeing up of their minds and make progress by innovative means.