2018 UK and Ireland Confucius Institutes Conference Held at University of Sheffield

[Source]    Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield, UK [Time]    2018-09-21 13:38:48 

On September 11th, local time, the 2018 UK and Ireland Confucius Institutes Conference was held at the University of Sheffield. Nearly 100 representatives from 31 Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms of the region attended the conference.

Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Business & Investment of Sheffield City, Keith Burnett, President of the University of Sheffield. Zheng Xiyuan, Consul-General of the Chinese Consulate-General in Manchester, Zhang Baojun, Vice President of Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU), and Gu Zhenqiu, London Bureau Chief of Xinhua News Agency, attended and addressed the conference. Zhang Yibin, Chancellor of Nanjing University Council, sent a congratulatory letter to organizers to congratulate beforehand the success of the conference.

At the opening ceremony, Zheng Xiyuan thanked the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) for its strong support for the development of the Confucius Institute in the Manchester Consular District, and Keith Burnett for his care for the Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield and remarkable contributions to developing China-UK relations. He noted that the UK now has 29 Confucius Institutes and 156 Confucius Classrooms, of which the Manchester Consular District has 9 Confucius Institutes and 13 Confucius Classrooms. Confucius Institutes have not only offered Chinese lessons over the years, but also established a broad platform for China-UK trade and cultural exchanges, pushing China and the UK to better communicate in various fields.

Zheng Xiyuan delivering a speech

Mazher Iqbal, on behalf of Sheffield City Council, thanked Confucius Institutes for their contributions in building the bridge between the UK and China. He expressed that they will continue strengthening cooperation with the Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield to serve for the exchanges between the two countries.

Mazher Iqbal delivering a speech

Zhang Baojun said in his speech that since BLCU, Nanjing University, and the University of Sheffield established the Confucius Institute in cooperation in 2007, they have given full play to their advantages, and joined hands to promote its development, scoring great achievements. The Confucius Institute has become an important platform for the world to understand China, and a bridge connecting people across the world.

Zhang Baojun delivering a speech

Keith Burnett delivered a speech titled “Bridge for Understanding- Establishing UK-China Relations through Media Cooperation”. He expressed that UK and China, the two major players in the international arena, are both facing global issues and challenges in environment, energy and food, and that the two entities should join hands to tackle them. Too much emphasis on differences will only make them go separate ways. The Confucius Institutes serve as the bridge between the two sides. We can see the culture of modern China in every teacher at Confucius Institutes who is working to break our stereotype and prejudice to deepen mutual trust and understanding.

Keith Burnett delivering a speech

Keith Burnett pointed out that the Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield has always been committed to cooperation with the University to integrate into the local community. It has become an integral part of the local community with its practical actions in fields such as commerce, advanced manufacturing, health care, and services for overseas students. The Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield has offered valuable experience in sustainable development for other Institutes.


Discussion among representatives

The conference had 8 sessions during which representatives had conducted extensive and in-depth discussion on teaching evaluation of Confucius Institutes, sustainable development in primary and secondary schools, HSK and local teaching, innovation for cultural activities, benefits of programs in China and other topics. Meanwhile, they also went into new topics such as the development environment and strategies, and feasibility on academic research and running of think tanks for the Confucius Institutes.

Story by Yuan Zheng