Xinhuanet review: promoting exchanges among diverse civilizations and propelling the development of the “Belt and Road”
In modern times, countries around the globe are gradually forging a mutually inclusive community of common interests and a shared destiny, which is an irresistible trend that drives civilizations to learn from and complement each other and propels China and other countries to seek win-win cooperation.
On Dec. 10th and 11th, the 11th Confucius Institute Conference, themed on “Innovation, Cooperation, Inclusion, Sharing”, was held in Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province. Over 2,000 delegates, including university presidents and representatives of Confucius Institutes and Classrooms from 140 countries and regions, envoys of foreign embassies in China, representatives of foreign institutions of language and culture promotion, as well as representatives of relevant ministries, local educational authorities and Chinese partner institutions, gathered in Kunming, the City of Eternal Spring, to discuss measures to create new dimensions in the development of Confucius Institutes through joint efforts. This year’s conference pooled wisdom of various countries while adhering to a goal-and problem-oriented path and brought out the full potential for the development of Confucius Institutes in a spirit of reform and innovation so as to improve their quality and take the development of Confucius Institutes to a new level.
The Confucius Institute, using language as the medium, builds a bridge of people-to-people bond through cultural integration and becomes a window for the world to know China and for China to deepen its friendship with other countries, thus promoting exchanges among diverse and brilliant civilizations.
Kunming, Yunnan Province, was chosen to host this year’s Confucius Institute Conference not just due to its historical and cultural heritage and regional characteristics, but even more attributable to the progress of educational internationalization in provinces of Southwest China.
It is widely known that Yunnan has long been recognized as a key point of the “southern Silk Road”, where diverse civilizations met and integrated into each other in a harmonious manner and were passed on from generation to generation. Along with the implementation of such strategies as the “Belt and Road” Initiative and the plan of Yangtze River Economic Belt, Yunnan has been undergoing enormous transformation in its regional position from the rear to the forefront of opening-up, creating broad prospects and development opportunities for boosting educational opening-up in provinces of Southwest China.
As the host of the Confucius Institute Conference for the first time, Yunnan is making continuous efforts to accelerate its educational opening-up and internationalization in recent years. It is reported that by the end of 2015, educational institutions of different types at various levels have hosted 22,635 foreign students. Universities in Yunnan have jointly established 12 Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms in collaboration with foreign partners. In addition, 43 colleges and universities in Yunnan set up 62 degree programs in less commonly taught languages, currently with a total of 81,900 students.
For Yunnan itself, promoting the educational opening-up in an orderly manner and upgrading its internationalization of education not only meet the practical needs in Yunnan’s educational reform and development, but also serve the pressing demands in making the region a pivot of China's opening-up to South and Southeast Asia, which plays an extremely significant role in enabling Yunnan to actively serve and integrate into our national development strategies as well as to win decisive battles in poverty alleviation and building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. By 2020, Yunnan aims to become a pivot of China's educational opening-up to South and Southeast Asia, an important base for cultivating talents for China’s opening-up to South and Southeast Asia, a key destination for students from South and Southeast Asia to study in China, and a demonstration zone of China’s educational opening-up along the border.
This year’s Confucius Institute Conference featured seven Presidents’ Forums on such topics as “Confucius Institute and the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative Roundtable Forum” and “Confucius Institutes’ Experiences & Challenges in Cooperating with Universities” and seven Directors’ Forms on such issues as “Chinese Language Resources Translated into All Possible Languages” and “A Global System for Chinese Language Proficiency Tests Service”. These forums not only focused on long-term plans for the development of the Confucius Institute, but also served as a stage for promoting cultural inclusion and sharing as well as practicing innovation and cooperation. Aiming to enhance heart-to-heart communication through languages, the Confucius Institute, via cultural and people-to-people exchanges in various fields, enables different countries to become partners of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation as well as good friends with sincerity, contributing more warm and positive energy to gathering more popular support for relations among countries.
by Zhao Hanbin