Joint Conference of Ibero-American Confucius Institutes opened

[Source]    Xinhua News Agency [Time]    2013-07-05 10:07:30 

A group photo

Guests singing the national anthem during the opening ceremony

Xinhuanet, Medellin, Columbia, July 3, (Correspondent Hou Xiwen). The 2013 Joint Conference of Ibero-American Confucius Institutes was opened in Medellin, the second largest city in Columbia on July 3rd.

Over 150 representatives attended the opening ceremony, including the Chinese and foreign directors of 34 Confucius Institutes in 12 Ibero-American countries, officials of the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), Chinese consulate representatives in Colombia and Colombian government officials. Colombia’s Minister of Education, governor of the Department of Antioquia and the Acting Mayor of Medellin all attended the opening ceremony and gave speeches. Office of the President of Colombia sent a congratulatory letter to the conference.

The three-day conference was sponsored by the Confucius Institutes Headquarters (Hanban), and organized by the Confucius Institute in Medellin. During the conference, the participating parties discussed and analyzed the Confucius Institute Development Plan (2012—2020), deliberated over the establishment of a regional service center for Confucius Institutes in Latin America, and planned future events like the “Confucius Institute Chinese Day” in 2014.

Xu Lin, Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters and Director-General of Hanban delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony. She said that the Ibero-American Confucius Institutes have been flourishing in recent years with significant achievements in mainly the following respects: enrollment is growing fast and the quality of courses is steadily rising; by integrating themselves deeply into universities and communities, they have significantly strengthened their service capacity; and by holding various cultural events, they have significantly increased their influence.

Xu Lin also pointed out that the Confucius Institutes in Ibero-America still face problems such as the shortage of teachers, which calls for effective solutions.

Currently, the Confucius Institute Headquarters has 36 Confucius Institutes, 11 more than last year, in 14 Ibero-American countries, which offered over 1700 classes of Chinese language and culture in 2012, enrolling 25,000 students, a growth of 40% over the previous year. They organized more than 600 cultural events, attracting 630,000 people, a growth of 30%.

This year’s Joint Conference of Ibero-American Confucius Institutes is the fifth gathering since its first conference in 2009.