Foreign directors of Confucius Institutes worldwide go back “home” for recharge

[Source]    Chinanews [Time]    2014-08-14 16:41:14 

Foreign directors of Confucius Institutes watching glove puppetry

Cultural inspection

Dumpling making experience (photographed by Yang Fushan)

In recent days, the Southern Base of Confucius Institute Headquarters at Xiamen University is as festive as the Spring Festival. Over 60 foreign directors of Confucius Institutes in more than 20 countries worldwide were welcomed back “home”.

All these foreign directors who “came back home” had a common goal — to participate in the fourth In-Service Training Workshop for Confucius Institute Directors sponsored by Confucius Institute Headquarters and organized by Xiamen University.

“My biggest wish is to participate in this kind of workshop which gives colleagues worldwide a special time to meet and communicate with each other,” said Christina Werum-Wang, Director of the Confucius Institute at Frankfurt University in Germany, in an interview with the reporter of China News on July 28, 2014. Ms. Wang, with blond hair and blue eyes, is studying in this workshop.

In 2010, Confucius Institute Headquarters held its first In-Service Training Workshop for Confucius Institute Directors at Xiamen University, a place famous for its beautiful scenery. In August, 2011, Ms. Wang who had just become a Confucius Institute foreign director missed the workshop that year due to certain reasons. And this has always been a big regret in her heart.

Ms. Wang told the reporter that more and more people in Germany are learning Chinese now, but there is a lack of Chinese teachers. She hopes that by participating in this workshop and communicating with colleagues, the solution could be found and a lot of inspiration could be obtained.

The activities of this workshop were tailored to the needs of foreign directors, combining training, communication and experience together through setting a rich content, such as keynote lectures, case studies, visits, cultural experiences, exchanges and dialogues.

The directors present claimed that they had enjoyed and benefited a lot from such arrangements. Dr. Hsiang-te Kung, the 75th generation descendent of Confucius and the Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis in the U.S., told the reporter that he had taken a lot of notes in the past few days. “The ten special lectures which were all given by well-known Chinese or foreign experts dealt with hot topics such as the economy and culture of Chinese society, the management and operation of Confucius Institutes, and intercultural communications. They are all beneficial for me.”

The Southern Base, set up by Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) at Xiamen University in 2008, is dedicated to building itself into a comprehensive base for international promotion of Chinese language whose full-service combines training, counseling and teaching together. After many years of hard work, the Base has taken shape and produced some initial results.

In the eyes of foreign directors, the Base is more like the logistics department which can offer them help at any time. Dr. Chen Jianguo, Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Delaware in the U.S., told the reporter that whenever he needed help, what came to his mind first was always the Southern Base/Confucius Institute Office at Xiamen University. “It is our home front,” he added.

Mr. Mao Tongwen, Director of the Southern Base of Confucius Institute Headquarters/Confucius Institute Office at Xiamen University, said to the reporter, “The Base strives to provide strong support and good services, which is the goal we have been working on.”

According to statistics, in the past six years, the Base has trained over 8,000 administrative personnel and teachers, including Chinese and foreign directors of Confucius Institutes, government-dispatched teachers, volunteer teachers, local Chinese language teachers, education officials, and primary and secondary school headmasters, and formed a three-dimensional training system that is multiform, multilevel and multi-group oriented.

Mr. Mao said that with the starting of the construction of the Academy for Confucius Institute Directors at Xiamen University on July 14, 2014, the training capacity of the Base would be further expanded. After the completion of the Academy which will cover 34 hectares and have a gross area of over 60,000 square meters, the University will be able to organize training, teaching, accommodation, recreations and sports activities for at least 800 to 1,000 trainees at the same time. It is planed that 3,600 Confucius Institute directors or backbone teachers will be trained in rotation there every year.

He added that the newly established Academy for Confucius Institute Directors then would work together with the Southern Base and Confucius Institute Office to help Xiamen University undertake more responsibilities for the promotion of Chinese language.

So far, Xiamen University has established 15 Confucius Institutes and 40 Confucius Classrooms in 12 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, America and Oceania. It is one of the universities in mainland China that has set up the largest number of Confucius Institutes. In 2013, the University was awarded the “Outstanding Confucius Institute Chinese Partner” by Confucius Institute Headquarters.


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