Liu Yandong Holds Roundtable with Representatives of Confucius Institutes from CEE Countries at University of Zagreb

[Source] [Time]    2014-06-23 14:38:05 

In the end, Liu Yandong delivered a concluding speech. She said that was the first time for her to hold discussions with so many representatives of university rectors, Confucius Institute directors and sinologists outside China. Over 700 years ago, the great traveler Marco Polo was born right here. He had been in China for 17 years and recorded his travel experiences in his Travels of Marco Polo. As the first book that systematically and vividly introduced the ancient Chinese civilization to Europe, it ushered the exchanges between eastern and western cultures into a new era. 700 years later, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the founding of Confucius Institutes, I think it is quite meaningful that we are gathered here in the hometown of Marco Polo to have in-depth discussions over promoting the development of Confucius Institutes and deepening cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Liu Yandong said that she was inspired and enlightened by everyone’s speech. Some speakers introduced the current situations, some seriously pondered over some important issues, and others offered good ideas and suggestions. She said that she was also amazed by the fluent Chinese that all the sinologists spoke. After hearing what everyone had to say, Liu Yandong shared her own opinions.

First, Confucius Institutes in CEE countries have maintained good momentum of development. Since 2006 when the first Confucius Institute in CEE countries opened in Bulgaria, thanks to the full support of all the governments and people from different social sectors, 24 Confucius Institutes and 8 Confucius Classrooms, with close to 800 full-time and part-time teachers and 15,000 students, have been established in 14 out of 16 countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Currently, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina are also endeavoring to apply for the opening of Confucius Institutes. All the Confucius Institutes not only conduct Chinese language teaching at various levels in class but organize colorful cultural activities in local communities, each of which has found its own distinct path of development. Today, you all have put forward many sensible suggestions, and Minister of Education Yuan Guiren, the Ministry of Education and Hanban will take them seriously and continue to improve our work.

Second, the deepening of cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and CEE countries enjoys a solid foundation, a good timing and a complementary advantage. China and CEE countries have been sharing a friendly history of exchanges since ancient times. Over the past thousands of years, the Silk Road, which traverses Asia and Europe, has facilitated business and trade, cultural integration and mutual learning between these two continents. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, CEE countries were among the first ones that established diplomatic relations, launched exchange student programs and co-organized Chinese language teaching in Europe with China. Over the past few decades, the relations between China and CEE countries have withstood the test of time. Our ever-deepening political mutual trust, steadily-growing economic and trade cooperation, increasingly-frequent cultural and people-to-people exchanges have brought tangible benefits to the Chinese people and the people in CEE countries.

We are now living in an era where the world is multi-polarized, the economy globalized and cultures diversified. With the ever-deepening democratization of international relations and the prevalence of the idea of peaceful development and win-win collaboration, it has become an irresistible trend of our times to promote exchanges and mutual learning between different cultures and to deepen mutual understanding and trust. Although blessed with major golden opportunities, we are still confronted with severe challenges, so we become increasingly dependent on each other. No country in the world can unravel on its own the problems now facing it, in particular those tricky ones such as energy and natural resource shortage, food security, population health and climate changes, so equal and win-win cross-border cooperation is the only way out.

China has already planned out a “two one-hundred-year” development strategy and is striving to realize the Chinese Dream that the Chinese nation is continuously seeking. Meanwhile, countries in Central and Eastern Europe are also devoted to achieving national prosperity and ensuring a well-off life for their people through developing economy and improving people’s livelihood. The Chinese Dream shares a lot in common with the dreams of people from the rest of the world, and the Chinese people and people in CEE countries should strengthen exchanges and help and learn from each other while realizing their own national dreams, so as to jointly make the colorful World Dream come true.

Both at the critical stage of transitional development, China and countries in Central and Eastern Europe share broad common interest and have great potential and prospect in strengthening and deepening cooperation. In March this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a visit to four European countries and reached broad consensus on deepening the development of China-Europe relations with EU leaders. In last November, during his visit to Romania, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attended the China-Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) Summit, where he jointly issued the Bucharest Action Guideline on China-CEEC Cooperation with other leaders and put forward 36 cooperation frameworks in six major areas including economy and trade, finance, interconnection, green innovation, regional and people-to-people exchanges, which has paved way for the development of Confucius Institutes in Europe and has provided unprecedented opportunities for deepening cultural exchanges.

Third, we need to make a concerted effort to compose a brand new chapter of China-CEEC cultural and people-to-people exchanges. The extraordinary past ten years have witnessed the birth and growth of Confucius Institutes. An embodiment of care and sweat of friends at home and abroad, Confucius Institutes have greatly promoted cultural exchanges between China and foreign countries and enhanced friendship between the Chinese people and foreigners, thus already a well-known cultural brand name. Having widely solicited opinions and suggestions, Confucius Institute Headquarters will launch the very first global “Confucius Institute Day”. A display of the cohesion of all Confucius Institutes across the globe, various celebrations will be held to observe the 10th anniversary of the Confucius Institute, which will spur the further development of Confucius Institutes.

Roundtable discussions

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