Diplomatic Envoys to China Jointly Discuss Educational Cooperation and Development: Languages Become a Bridge for Cultural Exchanges

[Source]    people.com.cn [Time]    2018-10-11 16:39:10 

A few days ago, the Yuelu Ambassadors’ Dialogue, themed “Working Together for A Better Future”, as one of the activities of the First World Language Resources Protection Conference, concluded in Changsha, Hunan Province. Diplomatic envoys to China present at the event discussed topics like cultural and educational cooperation, language resources and mutual learning between civilizations under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Strengthening Talent Exchanges and Contributing to Future Educational Cooperation

When talking about the cultivation of language talents, Nguyen Thi Thai Thong, Minister Counselor of the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in China, expressed that studying in China was an important way for Vietnamese students to making Chinese friends, understand Chinese culture and accumulate knowledge about China. After returning to Vietnam, they would be ready to serve as a bridge connecting China and Vietnam. He said, “Currently, the number of Chinese students in Vietnam has reached 2,000 to 3,000 and the number of Vietnamese students in China about 10,000. In the future educational development, we hope to learn from each other by carrying out more exchange projects for students.” Nguyen believes that the development of study abroad programs plays an important and positive role in the long-term development of the two sides while greatly contributing to the establishment of more steadfast cooperation relationships.

At present, Ecuador is carrying out a reform on universities and colleges, during which all universities and colleges have set up foreign language departments and foreign language centers for multi-lingual teaching. “Only one Confucius Institute has been established in Ecuador so far. We hope that more Confucius classrooms will be established in our universities and colleges and more Chinese teachers will enlarge the faculty pool.” Carlos Larrea, Ecuadorian Ambassador to China, noted that, in the future educational cultivation, they would cultivate people proficient in Chinese language and, more importantly, talents understanding Chinese culture.

In training language talents in a new era, Isam K.A.Elmansour, Envoy of the Embassy of the Republic of Sudan in China, believed that, with the constant development of science and technology, interpersonal communication has become even closer. The Belt and Road Initiative is an important platform for promoting cultural and people-to-people exchanges. He hopes that both sides can build a better future through talent connectivity.

Cultivating Multi-Language Talents Is a “Common Choice” in Protecting Language Resources

As of the protection of language and cultural resources, Nguyen believed that, against the backdrop of today’s global cultural integration, the wide penetration and frequent use of some languages, to some extent, eclipse the charm of others. He said, “Nowadays, people’s learning priority and focus are mostly on such up-to-the-moment languages as English whereas other languages are neglected, which, in fact, is resulted from the negative influence caused by accelerating globalization.” Since such loss of cultural resources is uncontrollable, the only thing we can do is to minimize the negative consequences as much as possible.

Nguyen said, “In Vietnam, we have always paid attention to cultivating multi-language talents and encourage our kids to learn a second language on the basis of mastering Vietnamese language. By doing so, they become more interested in the culture of other countries.” Nguyen also stated that an increasing number of young people had begun to learn Chinese of their own accord, reflecting the charm of Chinese culture and also Vietnam’s attention on protecting global languages and cultural resources. This plays an important role in protecting global linguistic diversity and in mutual learning among various cultures in the world.

It Is of Great Urgency to Focus on Cultural Diversity and Protect Endangered Languages

In protecting cultural diversity, Tania Romualdo, Ambassador of the Republic of Cape Verde to China, believed that all languages should co-exist harmoniously for common development. She said that local residents in Cape Verde most often speak Creole languages in their daily lives even though the official language of the country is Portuguese. “On one hand, the unique Creole language and culture are the symbol of our identity as Creoles. On the other hand, Portuguese, as the language we use to communicate with people in other countries, is a channel for us to communicate and share experience with the rest of the world.” Consequently, the best way to protect cultural diversity is to constantly broaden our horizon and try our best to learn more foreign languages without compromising our emphasis on our native language.

Ambassador Tania Romualdo said, “People in Cape Verde are becoming ever more interested in Chinese language. In December 2015, the Confucius Institute at University of Cape Verde was established. In September 2017, Chinese language, as an optional course, was included in the curriculum.” He also said that in their schools, besides Portuguese, courses in English, French, Spanish, German and other languages are also offered. “Language, culture and tradition are inseparable and closely related to one another. When a local accent disappears, the culture behind it also vanishes”, he said. China, with 56 nationalities and over 130 languages, is a treasure house of multi-ethnic cultural resources, which is of great referential significance for the rest of the world.

Zhou Bei, Envoy of Embassy of the Republic of the Gambia in China expressed that, in Gambia, in order to protect cultural diversity, Gambian people, through storytelling, encourage the young generation to learn and understand some endangered languages such as Serahule so that these languages would be preserved and transmitted to the generations to come. She also said that the projects of the Confucius Institute in Gambia went on wheels and the construction of the Confucius Institute would soon be completed.

(Story by people.com.cn, Beijing, September 29th)

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