Confucius Institute: a key player in assisting the development of the “Belt and Road” Initiative
On Dec. 11th, the Confucius Institute Conference continued to be convened in Kunming. At the Symposium on Confucius Institute and the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative held on the same day, it was generally agreed among the delegates that the Confucius Institute could be a key player in assisting the development of the “Belt and Road” Initiative.
The delegates all agreed that while promoting greater acceptance and popularity of the Chinese language and culture around the world, the Confucius Institute had 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.
According to statistics, a total of 134 Confucius Institutes and 127 Confucius Classrooms have 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.
Currently, around 94 percent of the Confucius Institutes and Classrooms in countries along the route offer credit courses of Chinese language, 93 universities have set up degree programs of Chinese language initiated by Confucius Institutes, 10 universities have set up degree programs in teaching Chinese, and 20 countries along the route have incorporated Chinese language teaching into their national education systems.
Vice Minister of Education Hao Ping noted that the Confucius Institute should always uphold the principle of adopting designated policies for different countries and universities so as to organize cultural activities appealing to the general public. In addition, the Confucius Institute will provide human resources and intellectual support to the development of the “Belt and Road” Initiative and play an active role in economic and trade cooperation.
At this year’s Confucius Institute Conference, 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. All the foreign delegates agreed that along with the advancing of the development of the “Belt and Road” Initiative, 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.
Hao further stated that in the future, the Confucius Institute, while adhering to the overall requirements for the development of the “Belt and Road” Initiative, 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. Educational authorities of all local governments should increase their input and integrate competitive resources so as to usher a new dimension in offering all-round support to the development of the “Belt and Road” Initiative.
by Yue Ranran & Yao Bing
KUNMING, Dec. 11th (Xinhua News Agency)