2012 Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in Europe Held in Vienna
From Sept. 7th to 10th, 2012 Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in Europe was held at the University of Vienna, Austria. Suzanne Kurtz, Vice Chairwoman of Austrian Federal Parliament, Xu Lin, Counselor of the State Council of China, Director-General of Hanban and Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters, Zhao Bin, Chinese Ambassador to Austria, and Heinz Engl, Rector of the University of Vienna, attended the opening ceremony and delivered speeches.
The Conference was sponsored by Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters and hosted by the University of Vienna. Over 130 delegates of 44 Confucius Institutes under three years of age from 22 European countries, of Chinese embassies and consulates as well as of Chinese and foreign college partners attended the Conference. Discussions and researches were focused on such topics that concern the newly-run institutes as the security of the Institutes, the development of the roadmaps, Chinese education & cultural activities as well as the key projects of the Headquarters in 2012.
In her address, Vice Chairwoman Suzanne Kurtz claimed that since 2006 Austria had witnessed the establishment of two Confucius Institutes which were committed to Chinese education and cultural dissemination and served as a platform for the mutual understanding and communication of Austrian and Chinese people. She expressed her wish that the Headquarters would continue to support the development of the Institutes in Austria so as to help the younger generation grasp the current opportunities and embrace a brighter future.
Rector Heinz Engl revealed that sinology had become an important subject of the University of Vienna. Colleges were responsible for helping students open their eyes to the world and get a better knowledge of different countries and culture. He extended his gratitude to the Confucius Institute at the University for showing local people a clearer picture of China, eliminating misunderstandings and conducting cross-cultural cooperation and exchange.
Keynote speaker Xu Lin commended the accomplishment of the Confucius Institute at the University and its sister Institutes in Europe. She believed that the Institutes had set an example for their global peers with the substantial improvement in Chinese education, the colorful and diversified cultural activities, the ever-growing social influence and the unique modes of school running. She appreciated the endeavor of both sides to make the Institutes in Europe booming and develop them into a window for European people to know about China and an important platform for the enhancement of cultural exchange and friendship.
Zhao Bin admitted that the Conference marked his first public appearance after he came into office. Since its foundation, the Institute at the University had received warm welcome and wide recognition from local people by proactively organizing Chinese-related educational and cultural activities so as to build a bridge of accommodation, understanding, communication and exchange between Austria and China.
During the Conference, Austrian Postal Service issued a set of commemorative stamps entitled “2012 Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in Europe”.
So far, there have been 132 Confucius Institutes (48 under three years of age) and 106 Confucius Classrooms in 34 European countries.