Representatives of Confucius Institutes in Oceania Discuss Development of Confucius Institute in Wellington

[Source]    Confucius Institute Headquarters [Time]    2019-07-08 11:11:31 

On July 4th, the Chinese and foreign directors from 19 Confucius Institutes and 4 Confucius Classrooms in New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Samoa gathered at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand to participate in the 2019 Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in Oceania. They exchanged views on and discussed the impact of the current external environment on Confucius Institutes, interested parties’ concerns and participation, the management and evaluation of the Confucius Institute, and how to tell the Confucius Institute stories and other issues.

Students from the Confucius Classroom at Wanganui High School greeted delegates with local Maori songs and dances. The high school opened a Chinese language course 23 years ago. Since the establishment of the Confucius Classroom in 2013, it has received an all-round support of Chinese language teaching, and its teaching quality has steadily improved.

Jiamh Ruland-Umata (Lu Jingmao), a student representative from the Confucius Institute at Victoria University of Wellington, described his experience of learning Chinese in Maori, Chinese and English. His authentic Beijing dialect amazed the audience. He said that language is the best communication tool, and Chinese closely linked him with China. He hoped that more New Zealand students will learn Chinese and become a bridge to communicate with China. As a high school student, he has already found a part-time job as a Chinese tour guide in the local Maori Cultural Village. He plans to go to China to pursue further studies after graduation.

Blair McRae, Vice President of Victoria University of Wellington, Jing Wei, Deputy Chief Executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, Li Jianfa, Vice President of Xiamen University, and others attended the conference and delivered speeches. Blair McRae said that 50 volunteer Chinese language teachers teach Chinese in 140 primary and secondary schools in Wellington and surrounding areas, providing valuable opportunities for primary and secondary school students in New Zealand to understand China through learning Chinese and become a “global citizen”.

Andrew Everett, Vice President of Charles Darwin University, said that the Confucius Institute is an important platform for promoting the all-round exchanges and cooperation between China and the region, and it is welcomed by university teachers and students as well as the community. Kelly Smith, Vice President of La Trobe University, believed that the Confucius Institute has nothing to do with politics. He suggested that the Confucius Institute should focus on its main business, strengthen staff training and risk assessment, and learn to deal with the media. Scott Sheppard, Vice President of Queensland University of Technology, said that the Confucius Institute is open and transparent and he is confident that the Institute can remove the concerns from the outside. Tony Browne, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Confucius Institute at Victoria University of Wellington, made several suggestions for the Confucius Institute’s assessment and improvement of teaching quality, which was agreed by the delegates.

In addition, 14 Chinese and foreign directors of Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms spoke at the conference. Rebecca Needham, Director of the Confucius Institute at Victoria University of Wellington, presided over the conference and made closing remarks. She said that the delegates carried out pragmatic discussions in a friendly and warm atmosphere and greatly inspired the sustainable development of the Confucius Institutes in Oceania. The conference achieved much more than what we could have hoped for and it is a complete success.