German Chancellor Angela Merkel inaugurates Confucius Institute in Stralsund
On the bright and sunny afternoon of August 30th, a crisp autumn day, colorful lions were dancing amid the sounds of drums on the plaza in front of the Town Hall in Stralsund, which was once a quiet small town situated on the northeastern coast of Germany. German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a personal appearance in the seaside town on the day to unveil the plaque for the 17th Confucius Institute in Germany---the Confucius Institute at Fachhochschule Stralsund University of Applied Sciences (hereinafter referred to as Stralsund Confucius Institute).
Germany’s 17th Confucius Institute, Stralsund Confucius Institute, jointly established by Fachhochschule Stralsund University of Applied Sciences and Hefei University, is officially inaugurated in Stralsund.
The historical building “Wulflamhaus” opposite the Town Hall of Stralsund serves as the workplace and teaching site for the Stralsund Confucius Institute. The plaque-unveiling ceremony for the new Confucius Institute was held at the banquet hall on the third floor of this red brick Gothic building built in the Middle Ages, where Madam Angela Merkel dressed in a red blouse along with Madam Xu Lin, Director General of Hanban, jointly unveiled the red cloth on the plaque, proclaiming the official opening of the Stralsund Confucius Institute.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese Ambassador to Germany Shi Mingde, Director General of Hanban Xu Lin, Mayor of Stralsund Alexander Badrow, Rector of Fachhochschule Stralsund University of Applied Sciences Falk Höhn and Director of the Horst-Goertz Endowment Institute Paul Unschuld attended and addressed the inauguration ceremony.
The following is the full text of the speeches at the inauguration ceremony:
Speech by Mayor of Stralsund Alexander Badrow
Mayor of Stralsund Alexander Badrow delivering his speech
Thank you, Annette Nett and Andreas März, for the opening music.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to everyone for attending the inauguration ceremony for the Stralsund Confucius Institute in this ancient building, Wulflamhaus. I’m particularly delighted by the presence of the Honorable Dr. Merkel. At this moment, I still clearly remember you witnessing the establishment of this Confucius Institute during your visit to China in late October of 2015. We feel deeply honored that today you attend the activity regarding the Confucius Institute once again.
It is a great pleasure to have so many Chinese guests here today and it is also my honor to extend the sincere welcome to His Excellency Shi Mingde, Chinese Ambassador to Germany; Madam Xu Lin, Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters; and Mr. Xu Deshu, Deputy Mayor of our partner city, Huangshan, China. Stralsund has established a sister-city relationship with Hefei, Anhui Province. I would also like to welcome Prof. Cai Jingmin, Party Secretary of Hefei University as well as representatives of the President of Anhui University of Chinese Medicine.
On behalf of my colleagues at the Stralsund Confucius Institute, I would like to stress that traditional Chinese medicine will become a major theme of this ceremony. Therefore, we warmly welcome German professor Kühl and Chinese director Sun Jiannan. Apart from linguistic and cultural exchanges, we also hope to continue conducting studies on the effects of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) along with our partners from the scientific community whilst pushing forward the application of TCM in Germany and that’s why we also invite guests from the medical and pharmaceutical community. We would also like to bid our heartfelt welcome to Prof. Paul Unschuld, Director of the Horst-Goertz Endowment Institute and Prof. Horst Kriegmann, Minister of Health of the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
We also wish to express our gratitude to our former mayor and a very warm welcome to members of the federal government, the state government, the regional government and the municipal government of Stralsund as well as all our guests。
Moreover, I’m delighted that the delegates from political, cultural, the media and economic circles as well as from the higher learning institutions can attend our inauguration ceremony. A boost to the economy is of great concern to us all. I wish that the Confucius Institute can conduct valuable exchanges in Stralsund.
Esteemed guests, China is a country with a long history, an array of great achievements, numerous beautiful views and people who strive to achieve their aims, a country that appeals to the German people. With regard to such a country, it can enrich ourselves to understand its language or its culture. I’m hoping that Stralsund will contribute to the development of Sino-German cultural and people-to-people exchanges. I’m also firm in belief that we could achieve this goal through the efforts made by the Confucius Institute. Finally, I wish the Stralsund Confucius Institute a bright future and hope that our set objectives can be realized.
Now let’s welcome Ambassador Shi Mingde to give us a speech.
(It is the English version of the original German text.)
Speech by Chinese Ambassador to Germany Shi Mingde
Chinese Ambassador to Germany Shi Mingde delivering his speech
Honorable Chancellor Merkel,
Honorable Mayor Badrow,
Honorable Director General Xu Lin,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I’m honored to be with you today for the unveiling ceremony of the Stralsund Confucius Institute in Stralsund.
Please allow me, at the outset, to express my sincere appreciation to Mayor Badrow for his kind invitation.
I would like to extend my appreciation to Chancellor Merkel for attending the event amid your busy schedule. Your presence here is no coincidence, but the embodiment of high attention to the sound bilateral relations between China and Germany and firm affirmation of Sino-German cultural exchanges. Several days later, you will visit China for the 10th time as German Chancellor to attend the G20 Summit held in Hangzhou. We are looking forward to your arrival and wish your visit a complete success.
I have tremendous respect for Madam Xu Lin, Director General of Hanban, who has come to attend this event all the way from Beijing. Hanban has continuously provided strong support for the development of Confucius Institutes in Germany in terms of personnel and finance. I, hereby, would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Madam Xu Lin and your colleagues.
Stralsund Confucius Institute is the 17th Confucius Institute in Germany as well as the first in Germany and one of the three Confucius Institutes across the globe featuring traditional Chinese medicine. It is jointly established by Hefei University and Fachhochschule Stralsund University of Applied Sciences. Today, Secretary Cai Jingmin, Rector Falk Höhn as well as delegates from the sister cities, Huangshan and Stralsund, attended the ceremony.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
China and Germany have forged a comprehensive strategic partnership by virtue of regular and frequent exchanges of visits of high-level leaders from our two countries, the consultations between the two governments featuring mutual trust and reciprocity and close economic ties. In the context of the turbulent development across the globe, China and Germany have set an example for peace, stability and stable development for the whole world with their sound cooperation, of which the significance goes far beyond the relationship of bilateral collaboration.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Even though political and economic relations are important, youth exchange and interaction between the two countries are equally important, or even more important, which is the best investment in the future. To date, over 40,000 Chinese students and researchers are studying or engaged in research in Germany, and a total of over 7,500 German students pursue their education in China. China and Germany have forged more than 80 pairs of sister cities and 550 pairs of sister universities. Teenagers serve as friendly envoys of mutual understanding between people of the two countries and the engineers that build bridges of friendship.
Confucius Institutes aim to spread Chinese culture and facilitate the pluralistic development of the world civilization. At present, there have been over 500 Confucius Institutes and over 1,000 Confucius Classrooms in 134 countries and regions in the world. Germany’s first Confucius Institute was established a decade ago and now 17 Confucius Institutes have been set up in Germany, making major contributions to meeting the needs of Chinese language learning in the local community. A total of 300 secondary schools in Germany now offer Chinese language courses and there have been over 3,000 registered students of China Studies in 25 universities and up to 30,000 Chinese language learners. Wilhelm von Humboldt once said, “Language is the outward manifestation of the spirit of people and each language showcases the unique world view of a people.”
This year is the “Sino-German Youth Friendly Exchange Year”. With the purpose of “Communication, Friendship, Future”, China and Germany are conducting a variety of activities in a bid to unremittingly enhance mutual understanding and friendship between teenagers of the two countries and to provide guarantee for Sino-German friendship. The establishment of the Stralsund Confucius Institute will become a new bridge of cultural and youth exchanges between China and Germany.
To this end, I would like to send my best wishes to the Stralsund Confucius Institute once again. May the staff at the Confucius Institute achieve a good start!
Speech by Madam Xu Lin
Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters and Director General of Hanban
Madam Xu Lin, Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters and Director General of Hanban, delivering her speech
Your Excellency Chancellor Merkel,
Honorable Ambassador Shi Mingde,
Honorable Mayor Badrow,
Esteemed Rector Höhn and Secretary Cai Jingmin,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I would like to start by expressing my gratitude to Ambassador Shi Mingde for giving me such a great opportunity to attend the inauguration ceremony for the Stralsund Confucius Institute at the Fachhochschule Stralsund University of Applied Sciences, to Her Excellency Chancellor Merkel for attending the ceremony, to Mayor Badrow for providing the Confucius Institute with such a wonderful teaching venue in this ancient and beautiful building on the downtown plaza and also to Rector Höhn for taking me to tour this beautiful city and enjoy abundant seafood from the Baltic Sea. The Fachhochschule Stralsund University of Applied Sciences has left a wonderful and deep impression on me.
(The following speech is in English.)
Thirty years ago, the German government and people provided help for the establishment of Hefei University and kept offering financial and technical support, making it a great example of higher vocational and technical education in China. Now, thirty years later, the 17th Confucius Institute in Germany---the Confucius Institute at Fachhochschule Stralsund University of Applied Sciences that is officially inaugurated here at the moment is a reward from the Chinese government and people in return. A decade ago when Confucius Institutes just started, we viewed ourselves as an institute for teaching Chinese to speakers of other languages. Last year, President Xi Jinping pointed out that Confucius Institutes served as an important platform for the world to understand China. According to this requirement, Confucius Institutes continue to expand their functions in line with local needs, whilst excelling at Chinese language teaching.
At noon today, Rector Höhn，Secretary Cai Jingmin and I held intensive discussions about the future development plan of the Confucius Institute and we have reached a consensus that at least three things must be done next year: first, the seminar on the development of traditional Chinese medicine in Germany will be jointly hosted by Fachhochschule Stralsund University of Applied Sciences and Hefei University; second, entrepreneurs of small and medium-sized enterprises will be invited to visit China in a bid to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between small and medium-sized enterprises of China and Germany; third, some students at Fachhochschule Stralsund University of Applied Sciences as well as secondary students in Stralsund will be invited to participate in the summer camp in China, because the youth are our future and it is necessary for them to make contact with China and to understand China. In short, this Confucius Institute should play a vital role in boosting local economy and social development.
In conclusion, I hope and also believe the newly established Confucius Institute will become a special and the best one.
Danke! (German: Thank you!)
Remarks by German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel making her remarks
Honorable Madam Xu Lin, I would like to express my gratitude to you for your presence here and for making me understand your speech. Mr. Ambassador, Mayor Badrow, Rector Höhn, Mr. Deputy Mayor of Huangshan, Prof. Kriegmann and Prof. Paul Unschuld, Ladies and Gentlemen:
As a member of the German Bundestag in this constituency, I’m very delighted to welcome everyone in Stralsund. I can still recall meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in China last year. Prior to my trip, Mr. Alexander Badrow, Mayor of Stralsund, said to me: “See you in Hefei!” I asked, “where?” He then said, “I believe we will meet in China.” It turned out that he knew where we would go before I did. As the home province of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Anhui Province witnessed the expanded exchanges between our two countries.
I’m pleased to see Sino-German relations enjoy sound development, leading to the establishment of this Confucius Institute in Stralsund. What impresses me most is that people can not only study the Chinese language but also learn Chinese cuisine. I have great interest in learning to cook Chinese dishes. In addition, the Stralsund Confucius Institute, at the very start, attaches great importance to introducing traditional Chinese medicine, which will be bound to arouse the interest of numerous German people in such topics as the combination of traditional Chinese and western medicine. I firmly believe that this Confucius Institute will develop well.
We are rightly proud of our culture and tradition. Each citizen can recollect our history at the sight of our magnificent Town Hall and we also would like to know the history of China. The Confucius Institute can help us better understand China, conducing to mutual understanding. From my perspective, the Confucius Institute is testimony to the open-minded attitude between the two countries. I would also like to thank everyone for attending this opening ceremony in Stralsund. I am glad to attend the G20 Summit in China this weekend on behalf of our constituency. Then I will proudly say that there is a Confucius Institute in our constituency.
(It is the English version of the original German text.)
Remarks by Mr. Falk Höhn, Rector of Fachhochschule Stralsund University of Applied Sciences
Mr. Falk Höhn, Rector of Fachhochschule Stralsund University of Applied Sciences, making his remarks
Speaking at the event, Rector Höhn expressed his view that China’s rich and diverse culture originated in the development of thousands of years. Therefore, the Stralsund Confucius Institute will endeavor to spread Chinese culture, whilst offering Chinese language courses. Traditional Chinese medicine, as part of the Chinese culture, will also be promoted: with Chinese pharmacologist Tu Youyou winning the Nobel Prize in medicine, traditional Chinese medicine as well as its pharmacological studies draw increasing attention of people in Germany. We will offer basic courses on the training of traditional Chinese medicine for the target students along with our Chinese partners. The establishment of the Confucius Institute will not only enrich the academic map of the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, but also elevate hopes on building a platform for mutual understanding and exchanges between small and medium-sized enterprises in the local community with their Chinese counterparts, so as to inject vigor and vitality into local development.
The Stralsund Confucius Institute is established in collaboration with Fachhochschule Stralsund University of Applied Sciences and Hefei University, Anhui Province, with relevant agreements signed and witnessed by Chinese Premier and German Chancellor last October.
(Sources: Hanban, Xinhua News Agency, China News Service)