Newsletter: To be Messengers of Cultural Exchanges Between China and Madagascar

[Source]    Xinhua News Agency [Time]    2017-09-01 16:30:29 

“Departure is always in August and memories are missing thoughts. Late autumn, the wine toasted for graduation still saddens my inner heart.” The familiar tune of Chengdu, combining with the lyrics re-written by teachers and students of the Confucius Institute at Antananarivo University, Madagascar was resonant at their exclusive graduation ceremony.

On August 25th, the 2017 undergraduate graduation ceremony was held in the Confucius Institute at Antananarivo University. After 3 years of Chinese learning and going through a series of assessment, 49 graduates were about to embark on different life paths.

"As graduates of the Confucius Institute and messengers for the friendship of China and Madagascar, I hope that you will never forget your aspiration and can apply your knowledge in the course of making your due contribution to building a better Madagascar and promoting the friendly and mutually beneficial win-win cooperation between China and Madagascar,” said Yang Xiaorong, Chinese Ambassador in the Republic of Madagascar at the graduation ceremony.

Since its founding in 2008, the Confucius Institute at Antananarivo University has trained more than 260 undergraduates. Learning Chinese bonds them together, and they will still promote the cultural exchanges between China and Madagascar in different occasions after graduation.

2015 graduate An Bin still had a deep impression upon recalling his application at the institute. “Back then my mother suggested me to learn Chinese, because she felt that there are so many Chinese people in Madagascar and China’s influence is so great that learning Chinese will be a good into success.”

An Bin believed that his 3 years of learning experience at the Confucius Institute is invaluable. “The teachers not only taught me Chinese, but also led me to understand Chinese culture. I was studying the Peking Opera with the teachers at the Confucius Institute, and my performance won the first place in the Online Spring Festival Gala at the Confucius Institute, which serves as a better encouragement for me to learn Chinese well.”

For An Yixuan, another graduate at the Confucius Institute, before enrolling, her understanding of China only came through Chinese films. “My bond with China originated when I was 16 and back then, Jackie Chan's films were quite popular, which made me fairly obsessed with Chinese culture. But the real reason for my learning Chinese, is that it is one of the most difficult languages in the world, thus a challenge for me.”

It has been a long road for the China-Madagascar cultural exchanges. “From the 1970s up to now, the Chinese government has awarded scholarships to hundreds of Madagascar students, many of whom are now in prominent positions and are committed to strengthening the friendship between the two countries and the people,” said Larry Jonah Christian, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Madagascar at the ceremony.

"These 49 Chinese students will go into society after they graduated. Some will further their studies in China and some may be engaged in occupations such as Chinese teachers, Chinese guides and Chinese translators, etc. But I believe they will have a wonderful performance in a variety of cultural exchange activities held by the two countries,” said Chen Lijuan, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute.

An Bin and An Yixuan both have received scholarships from the Confucius Institute after graduation and have gone to Jiangxi Normal University in China to further their studies. Currently, they have returned to respectively serve at the Chinese Embassy in Madagascar and the Confucius Institute at Antananarivo University.

“Let the Madagascar people understand China and let the Chinese know about Madagascar.” This is a good expectation for graduates at the Confucius Institute on their future roles. As the civil messengers of cultural exchanges between the two countries, they will endure various tests in their future life. Just as Ji Chunlei, on behalf of all the other teachers of the Confucius Institute delivered at the graduation ceremony, “There are challenges, pressure, temptation, and even complex and difficult cultural conflicts, yet you have to learn to identify and to summon up your courage in the face of adversity,” she said.

As the only outstanding graduate of the 2017 study term, Mei Li is surrounded by the excitement of her further study in China after listening to the introduction of the senior students. She said, “I am so honored to have the opportunity to study in China this year. I will continue to learn Chinese dance in China, especially the dance of different ethnic groups besides having a good command of my professional knowledge. I want to attract more people of Madagascar to understand China through dancing.”

(Story by Wen Hao, Xinhua News Agency, in Antananarivoon, August 27th)