An Exclusive Interview: Learning Chinese Helps to Promote Cooperation between China and Belarus
—Interview with Anatoli Tozik, Director of the Confucius Institute at Belarusian State University
“At present, an increasing number of people in Belarus are learning Chinese, which helps people learn more about China and promote mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries." said Professor Anatoli Tozik, Director of the Confucius Institute at Belarusian State University (BSU), told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.
Tozik believed that China-Belarus cooperation in educational field is advancing smoothly. “Nowadays, many Belarusian families are willing to let their children learn Chinese. For instance, in the Confucius Institute at BSU, people aging from six or seven to more than forty are learning Chinese. My own grandson and granddaughter are also learning Chinese as well.”
Tozik said it was during his term of office as Belarusian Ambassador to China that he signed the contract with Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) in 2006, on behalf of Belarus, to establish a Confucius Institute at the national level at BSU. Up to the present, there are three Confucius Institutes and a Confucius Classroom in Belarus, among which the Confucius Institute at Belarusian State University is the earliest one.
Tozik stressed that in today’s world, people shall strengthen mutual communication and understanding. Through language study, the Belarusian people have gained better understanding of China as well as its history, culture and current achievements.
According to Tozik, at present, besides Confucius Institutes and Confucius classrooms, many universities in Belarus also offer Chinese language courses and many middle schools list Chinese as a compulsory or optional course.
Tozik, former Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus, has his own understanding on the development of China. He said, “There is no doubt for me that the stronger China becomes, the more peaceful the world is. I believe that a powerful China is needed in today’s unstable world. ”
On educational cooperation between Belarus and China, Tozik expressed that currently the number of Chinese students in Belarus remained stable at around 2,000 for several consecutive years. Belarus hopes that expanding students’ dormitory and other measures would attract more Chinese students. He also noted that apart from educational field, cooperation between Belarus and China also covers culture, health, sports, tourism and other fields. Currently, educational cooperation between the two countries falls behind the cooperation in economy and trade as well as in science and technology. Bilateral cooperation in people-to-people and cultural engagement has great potential. It is hoped that both sides can jointly further expand the space for people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cooperation.
(Story by Wei Zhongjie, Li Jia, Xinhua News Agency, Minsk, Mar. 26th)