The first Confucius Institute Open Day at Makerere University: a window for more Ugandans to understand Chinese culture

[Source]    Xinhua net [Time]    2015-06-10 16:08:09 
 

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On April 25, on the outdoor lawn of the Confucius Institute at Makerere University, students were merrily singing a Chinese song Great China, enjoying themselves in guangchangwu (literally meaning “dancing in the square”) to the music of The Coolest Ethnic Trend and learning Chinese martial arts from the Kung Fu teachers. It was the first Confucius Institute Open Day at Makerere University.

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After the one-hour performances, students and teachers from the Confucius Institute went to booths to show Chinese calligraphy, martial arts and tea art ceremony, which attracted a large group of students to watch and participate. Also, they made dumplings together. Many students were so interested in Chinese martial arts that they seek consultations and course information after watching the performance.

“We can tell from the enthusiasm of the students that they truly love activities like these,” said Prof. Edward Kirumira, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere University.

Bwikizo Felix, freshman of the College of Journalism and Communications at Makerere University, is very interested in Chinese calligraphy, thus planning to learn Chinese at the Confucius Institute during the vacation this year. He argues that as China’s power increasingly strengthens, China will probably become Africa’s largest development partner. Precisely for this reason, Felix is strongly motivated to learn about China and study Chinese. He said on the Open Day that the activities were very meaningful, and he hoped that the Confucius Institute would organize activities in local high schools to allow more Ugandans to understand Chinese culture.

Hong Yonghong, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute, noted that the Open Day was aimed at promoting Chinese language and culture in Uganda and showing the achievements of the Confucius Institute at Makerere University since its opening half a year ago. He added that some local universities and elementary schools had proposed to cooperate with the Confucius Institute.

This event was co-sponsored by the Confucius Institute at Makerere University and StarTimes DTV (Uganda) Co., Ltd. Chinese Ambassador to Uganda Mr. Zhao Yali commended their concerted efforts and encouraged more Chinese companies to collaborate with the Confucius Institute so as to spread Chinese culture in Uganda and enhance the friendship between the two countries. He also appealed to the Confucius Institute to hold more activities outside the campus to benefit more Ugandans.

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Mr. Timothy Ssejuba, representative of Minister of Education of Uganda and Director of Ugandan Education Department, said that this year marked the 53rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Uganda and that the friendship between the two countries had withstood the test of time. He also extended thanks on behalf of the Ugandan government to the Chinese government for its offering scholarships to Ugandan students and numerous short-term training programs to Ugandan government workers. In the end, Mr. Ssejuba added that a knowledge of Chinese would enable Ugandan students to gain an international view and thus to be more competitive in the job market.

Prof. Earnest Okello Ogwang, Vice Rector of Makerere University, said that there were over 200 people studying Chinese at its Confucius Institute. He believed that communication and mutual understanding between the two countries could be strengthened through language learning and that the Chinese language would play an even greater role in Uganda.  

Mr. Zhao Yali also commented that the Confucius Institute has brought many Chinese elements to Uganda, both linguistically and culturally. He hoped that more Chinese enterprises in Uganda could lend support to the Confucius Institute, and he expressed thanks to the local government and schools for their support.

The Confucius Institute at Makerere University, co-established by Uganda’s Makerere University and China’s Xiangtan University, opened in December 2014.

Written by Yuan Qing

 
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