Madam Xu Lin receives the first “Matteo Ripa International Award” in Italy

[Source]    Confucius Institute at Oriental University of Napoli [Time]    2014-11-19 15:09:12 

On October 20, 2014, the Oriental University of Napoli in Italy held a grand awarding ceremony of the first “Matteo Ripa International Award”. The honor was awarded to Madam Xu Lin, Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters and Director General of Hanban, for her outstanding contribution and immense international influence on spreading Chinese language and culture and promoting cultural communication and friendship among countries.

The awarding scene

Professor Lida Viganoni, Rector of the Oriental University of Napoli, first addressed the audience. Full of affection, she reviewed how Priest Ripa Matteo broke a great many obstacles 280 years ago and managed to found the “Chinese College” (the predecessor of the Oriental University of Napoli) exclusively for the education of overseas Chinese students in 1732. She also introduced the purposes of setting “Matteo Ripa International Award”, that is, to commend people who make outstanding contributions to promoting and strengthening Sino-Italian language and cultural communication, to develop the tradition of Sinology study initiated by Priest Ripa Matteo in the Oriental University of Napoli, and to motivate more Italian and Chinese people to engage in Sino-Italian language and cultural communication.

Rector Lida Viganoni announced that the Award Committee decided after thorough consideration to award the first “Matteo Ripa International Award” to Madam Xu Lin, Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters and Director General of Hanban. She commended that Madam Xu Lin has devoted herself to the communication and dissemination career of Chinese language and culture. Thanks to her efforts, Italy has established 11 Confucius Institutes and 25 Confucius Classrooms, which opens doors to contemporary China for Italian people and lays a solid foundation for the friendship and cooperation between people of the two countries.

Madam Xu Lin made her acceptance speech after receiving the award. She regarded this prize as a very special one compared to many other honors and awards she had received, because previous awards are just confirmation of her efforts and achievements whereas this one is a type of stimulation which encourages her to carry forward “Matteo Ripa Spirit”, persistently move forward and make greater contributions.

Madam Xu made a special mention of her experience when visiting Naples. She met an Italian man, who became a tour guide after having studied Chinese in the Confucius Institute at Oriental University of Napoli. According to him, his Chinese proficiency has given him more working opportunities, and now he can earn three times as much as ordinary tour guides do. Madam Xu said delightedly that this example just proved the positive role played by the Confucius Institute in spreading Chinese language and culture.

Acting Mayor of Naples, Mr. Nino Daniele wearing Mayor Ribbon congratulated Madam Xu. He said Priest Matteo Ripa is the pride of Naples, who initiated the tradition of Sinology study in this city. Now the Confucius Institute continues and develops this tradition by introducing more high-level language and culture elements into Naples. More and more Italian people learn Chinese in Naples. As a member of the “Matteo Ripa International Award” Award Committee, he was honored to give the first award to Madam Xu, to thank her for introducing the Confucius Institute to Naples. Naples will more openly and actively communicate with China in the fields of culture, economy and more.

Ambassador Li Ruiyu of Chinese Embassy in Italy sent his congratulatory letter to Madam Xu Lin, in which he congratulated her for receiving the first “Matteo Ripa International Award” and highly praised Xu’s immense achievements in promoting Chinese language teaching and Chinese culture. He also affirmed in the letter that Madam Xu truly deserves this prize.

Over 100 guests participated in the awarding ceremony, including Counselor Zhang Linyi of Education Section of Chinese Embassy in Italy, Counselor Zhang Jianda of Culture Section, Ms. Caterina Miraglia, Region Chairman Representative of the Campania Region, Mr. Giorgio Cozzolino, Naples Provincial & Municipal Superintendent of Architecture, Natural Scenery, History, Art and Anthropology, Mr. Gaetano Daniele, Commissioner of the Culture and Tourism Office of Naples, Professor Li Yuesong, Vice Chair of the University Council of Shanghai International Studies University, Professor Elda Morlicchio, President-elect; Foreign and Chinese directors of the Confucius Institute at Oriental University of Napoli, and representatives from cultural, educational, and economical fields in Naples.

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The Confucius Institute at Oriental University of Napoli was founded in 2007, its Chinese partner university being Shanghai International Studies University. During the seven years, the Institute has done its utmost to serve for the university and the community by providing diversified Chinese teaching activities and colorful cultural activities. For instance, it held the Festival of “China, 1001”, which was praised by the Italian President through letter. The establishment of “Matteo Ripa International Award” is to develop the tradition of Sinology study initiated by Missionary Matteo Ripa, to improve the academic communication and cooperation between the Oriental University of Napoli and Chinese universities, and to strengthen the language and cultural communication between the two countries.

Matteo Ripa was also called Ma Guoxian in Chinese, successor of Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci. He was not only the pioneer of European court painters in China, but also the craftsman who first introduced European copper-etching skills into China. He arrived in China in the reign of Emperor Kangxi and then worked as a court painter for thirteen years. The emperor appreciated his talent and bestowed a Chinese name “Ma Guoxian” on him. Matteo Ripa returned to Italy in the year of 1724, taking with him a large number of Chinese treasures and four Chinese Catholics sent to Italy by Emperor Kangxi. On April 7, 1732, Matteo Ripa founded “Sacred Family” in Naples, which mainly educated overseas Chinese students and offered Chinese language and Catholic theological courses. Therefore, it was also called the “Chinese College”. The “Chinese College” was the first college which taught Sinology and Orientalism in European continent. It was renamed as the “Royal Asiatic College of Italy” in 1868, and later developed into the Oriental University of Napoli. In terms of the significance of the “Chinese College”, Rector Lida Viganoni of the Oriental University of Napoli said, “The University was the earliest school for fostering sinologists and orientalists in European continent. It has already taught Mandarin writing and speaking since the end of 1724. As a pioneer, Priest Matteo Ripa brought to Naples cross-cultural experience, and endowed the ‘Chinese College’ with a long-standing history. Napoleon predicted from his international strategic insight that this college could be used by France as one important political power to penetrate Asia. He even tried to move it to France.”


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