Hao Ping: Strive to establish Confucius Institutes in all countries along the “Belt and Road”
“In the future, we will further improve the layout for Confucius Institutes and strive to establish Confucius Institutes in all countries along the ‘Belt and Road’,” stated Hao Ping, Vice Minister of Education of China, at the Symposium on Confucius Institute and the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative, one of the series of events held on Dec. 11th during the 11th Confucius Institute Conference.
Hao noted that 134 Confucius Institutes and 127 Confucius Classrooms had been established in 51 countries along the “Belt and Road”. In 2016, these Confucius Institutes and Classrooms, enjoying enormous popularity among people in these countries, enrolled a total of 460,000 students and held around 8,000 cultural events of various types, receiving 2.7 million participants. In 2017, Confucius Institute Headquarters plans to establish Confucius Institutes in another nine countries, aiming to cover all countries along the “Belt and Road”.
At the symposium, leading officials from the Ministry of Education of China and six provinces (autonomous regions) including Yunnan, Fujian, Guangxi, Guizhou, Gansu and Ningxia, heads of departments of education of some provinces (autonomous regions), and presidents of Chinese partner institutions conducted in-depth discussions on how to provide strong support for the work of the Confucius Institute so as to better serve the development of the “Belt and Road” Initiative. This also marked the first time for the Confucius Institute Conference to invite leading officials of local governments to attend its symposiums.
These delegates all agreed that while promoting greater acceptance and popularity of the Chinese language and culture around the world, the Confucius Institute has always been playing a pivotal role in facilitating their provinces and universities to develop all-round cooperation with countries along the “Belt and Road” in various fields, including cultural and people-to-people exchanges, sister school ties, sister province-state relations, as well as business and trade partnerships. They also promised to provide strong support for the future work of the Confucius Institute as always.
“The Confucius Institute can play an even greater role in the development of ‘Belt and Road’.” Zhu Chongshi, President of Xiamen University, proposed that Confucius Institute Headquarters should target countries along the “Belt and Road” as the top priority in its next 12-year development plan. He also noted that the development of the “Belt and Road” would present both opportunities and challenges to the Confucius Institute, which, as a consequence, should attach more significance to the training of directors and teaching staff and enhance the pertinence of teaching content.
In his concluding speech at the symposium, Vice Minister of Education Hao Ping pointed out that the Confucius Institute had taken root in the host country and offered Chinese language teaching and cultural exchange events of flexible and diverse forms in accordance with local conditions, thus making significant contributions to consolidating and strengthening the public opinion foundation with countries along the “Belt and Road”. Mr Hao further stated that the “Belt and Road” Initiative served as the top-level design for the international cooperation and exchange of Chinese education and a vital guideline for driving work in this aspect to a higher level and a greater scale. In the future, the Confucius Institute, while adhering to the overall requirements for the development of the “Belt and Road”, would further improve its layout, step up the development of teaching staff and teaching materials, and make vigorous efforts to cultivate local bilingual translators, research-oriented talents, and professionals with vocational skills.
On the same day, the “Confucius Institute and the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative Roundtable Forum” was also held, at which 14 presidents of universities hosting Confucius Institutes from countries along the “Belt and Road” delivered their speeches, including Anatoli Tozik, Former Vice Prime Minister of Belarus; Pasquale Mammone, President of University of Artois, France; Atef Mohamed Aly, Deputy Rector of Suez Canal University. All the foreign delegates agreed that along with the advancing of the development of the “Belt and Road”, the Confucius Institute would enjoy a promising future with broad prospects in providing language and vocational skill training to local employees of Chinese enterprises in countries along the route and, in particular, serving as a think tank to offer information and policy consultation services for cooperation in various fields, such as cultural exchanges and business ties between China and these countries.
by Hu Yuanhang & Wang Yi
KUNMING, Dec. 11th (China News Service)