12th Confucius Institute Conference Held
Confucius Institutes around the World Contribute to the Building of a Community of Shared Future for Mankind

[Source]    CRI Online [Time]    2017-12-18 13:04:31 

Li Can, a student from the Chinese Department of University of Khartoum, Sudan

On December 12th, the 12th Confucius Institute Conference was held in Xi’an, with the theme of Working Together to Build a Community of Shared Future for Mankind through Cooperation and Innovation. It is known that since its founding thirteen years ago, 525 Confucius Institutes and 1,113 Classrooms have been set up in 146 countries and regions around the world, with more than 9 million enrolled students of various types in total. Through the joint efforts of Chinese and foreign parties, Confucius Institutes have made positive contributions to enhancing the friendship between peoples from China and other countries and to promoting communication and mutual learning between Chinese and foreign civilizations.

Li Can, an 18-year-old junior student from the Chinese Department of University of Khartoum in Sudan, is also a student of the Confucius Institute at Khartoum. This dark-skinned, petite Sudanese girl may not stand out in the crowd, but she won the warmest applause from the audience when she, at the stage of the opening ceremony, told over 2,000 audiences about how she had overcome congenital retinitis and acquired Chinese language with blind eyes. “At the beginning, I could see very large size Chinese characters, then they gradually disappeared from my sight. So, I could only learn Chinese with my ears. Although it was quite hard, I didn’t give up. Teachers asked us to preview texts before class. For me, I normally listened to the new words three times and recited the text before class lest I might be without any clue in class.”

Li Can said that she couldn’t take the HSK test because she was not able to learn Chinese writing due to her vision problem .This year, she successfully passed the HSK exam held particularly for her by the Confucius Institute Headquarters and won the “Scholarship of Confucius Institute” and an opportunity to study for one year in China. Li Can said learning Chinese has changed her life.

The charm of Chinese language is attracting more foreigners like Li Can. According to the data from the Confucius Institute Headquarters, there are 525 Confucius Institutes and 1,113 Classrooms in 146 countries and regions around the world. And more than half a million young people from all over the world actively participate in the “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students and the “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students each year. Over the past decade, Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms in the world have held a total of 220 thousand cultural activities with 100 million spectators.

At the conference, Dr. C. Daniel Mote, President of the National Academy of Engineering and Council Member of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, noted that the University of Maryland in the United States set up the first Confucius Institute in North America in 2004. The past ten years have witnessed a surprisingly rapid increase in the number of students in Confucius Institutes in North America and the rest of the world. He believes that in the 21st century, where development is fueled by talents and innovation, the Confucius Institute serves as an important platform for promoting the convergence and exchanges of talents and innovation, which he noted as the development direction of the Confucius Institute: “By approaching universities, local schools, business institutions and communities, the Confucius Institute is becoming more mature. It is precisely because it appeared in an era of entrepreneurship that the Confucius Institute has always focused on innovation and cooperation. We can say that the Confucius Institute is committed to building a community of shared future for mankind through cooperation and innovation, which is also the key to the development of the 21st century.”

In May 2007, Beijing Foreign Studies University, the first Chinese university to set up a special management institution for the Confucius Institute, established the Office of Confucius Institutes. So far, Beijing Foreign Studies University has organized 23 Confucius Institutes in 18 countries, ranking the first among Chinese universities. Peng Long, President of Beijing Foreign Studies University and Council Member of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, said that with the joint efforts of China and foreign countries, the institutes organized by Beijing Foreign Studies University have conducted all kinds of in-depth practical work and have yielded fruitful achievements in such aspects as language teaching, cultural exchanges, win-win cooperation, distinctive development, popularity and influence. He said that the continuous development of the institutes not only promotes the cultural exchanges between China and foreign countries, but also brings many opportunities for Chinese universities. “The participation of Chinese universities in the construction of Confucius Institutes is a major achievement in the history of the language communication around the world. More than 220 universities make use of their own advantages to spread Chinese to the world through their efforts, so as to promote Chinese and foreign cultural exchanges and enhance mutual understanding and friendship among people of all countries. While participating in the international Chinese language education, Chinese universities also carry out exchanges and cooperation with foreign universities in multiple levels and fields, which has greatly promoted the internationalization of China’s education,” according to Peng.

Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of the State Council and President of the Council of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, pointed out at the conference that since the founding thirteen years ago, the Confucius Institute has remained committed to benefiting all through joint construction, thus making positive contributions to the friendship between China and other countries, as well as the exchanges and mutual learning between Chinese and foreign civilizations. She noted that Confucius Institute, which serves as a bond for language exchanges and a platform for mutual learning, should strive to be a bridge for enhancing friendship and a propeller for win-win cooperation. It is necessary to optimize the layout, improve the standard of institute operation, deepen the reform on teachers, teaching materials and teaching methods, strengthen the training of local teachers and provide services to meet the diversified and localized demands of various countries. It is also necessary to improve institutional mechanisms, make full use of the strength of China and foreign countries and build people-to-people and cultural exchanges brands featuring inclusiveness, sharing, and harmonious coexistence, so as to make new contributions to the building of a community of shared future for mankind.

(Story by Liu Qing, CRI Online)