Mr. Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Vice-president of the French Senate and Former Prime Minister of France, Sends a Spring Festival Greeting Card to the Confucius Institute at the University of Poitiers

[Source]    Confucius Institute at the University of Poitiers [Time]    2013-02-09 11:59:44 

Before the Spring Festival, the Confucius Institute at the University of Poitiers was honored to receive a Spring Festival greeting card sent by an old friend of the Confucius Institute – Mr. Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Vice-President of the French Senate and former Prime Minister of France.

The greeting card

In January 2013 when the Confucius Institute at the University of Poitiers assisted the China Central Television (CCTV) in interviewing Mr. Raffarin, he made the following remarks:

The Confucius Institute Project is very important. There are 400 Confucius Institutes all over the world and their global activities, which are full of variety, have shown their good image. A total of 15 Confucius Institutes are located in France, which have become a part of French cultural life, and the first one of them was established in my hometown Poitiers. The Confucius Institutes promote Chinese teaching. By teaching Chinese language, the Confucius Institutes not only enable people all over the world to learn about Chinese culture, history and ancient civilization, but also allow them to gain an understanding of the current Chinese economy, society and Chinese people’s daily life. The Confucius Institutes create a platform for communication between peoples. The more mutual understanding people have, the better they can enhance their understanding and have friendly exchanges.

The exchanges between China and France are largely cultural exchanges. With the support of local universities, many Confucius Institutes have launched teaching activities as well as academic and cultural exchanges. These exchanges provided by the Confucius Institutes are what people need. There is no doubt that the economic exchanges and cooperation between enterprises are very important, but people’s cultural exchanges made by means of learning language are of great importance as well, and play a role in the cultural dialogue between China and France as well as China and Europe.

I have many vivid stories to illustrate this point. Through the exhibition held by the Confucius Institute in Poitiers, I got the chance to know more about Chinese painters. Their art works were appreciated by tens of thousands of people, who learned about Chinese culture from the color, style of painting and expressive forms of their works; I also saw young people learning Chinese language at the Confucius Institutes. I attended the lectures on Chinese history and Chinese culture.

The Confucius Institute is a platform for learning Chinese language, a window to learn about Chinese culture and a channel to gain an understanding of contemporary China. The Confucius Institute is a platform for learning, exchange and friendship.

Chinese culture is ancient but modern. It matches perfectly with modern society and modern science. Our present world has a strong symbiosis, and Chinese thoughts are not unitary but very diversified and comprehensive. In Chinese philosophical thoughts, things are classified into “Yin” and “Yang”, which are opposite but complementary. In addition, human society also consists of “Yin” and “Yang” elements. The ancient Asian thoughts may show humans a “path”, a modern path.

I think the contributions of modern China to humans are reflected not only in the economic growth but further in philosophy. France was the first to realize the importance of relationship with China. Our national relations are not based on strength but on the dialogue between civilizations. Frenchmen believe that what Chinese people bring to the world is not only labor and wisdom but the depth and elegance of Chinese thoughts.

Ten years ago, China faced the challenge of SARS. Along with Chinese people, I firmly believed that China could overcome difficulties because I was deeply convinced of the acumen, wisdom and courage of Chinese people. May everyone have a happy Year of the Snake!

By Chen Mengwen