XMU awarded title of “Outstanding Chinese Partner University” at 12th Confucius Institute Conference
From December 12 to 13, the 12th Confucius Institute Conference was grandly held in Xi’an. Liu Yandong, vice premier of the State Council and chairman of the Council of Confucius Institute Headquarters, attended the conference and delivered a keynote speech. Themed “deepen cooperation, promote innovation, and pitch in to build a community with shared future for humanity”, the conference invited nearly 2,500 people, including college and university presidents and representatives of Confucius Institutes from more than 140 countries and regions, to engage in a two-day discussion on such issues as how to promote in-depth cooperation between Chinese and foreign universities and how the Confucius Institutes could best contribute to the “Belt and Road” initiative through the platform of the Confucius Institute. Mr. Zhang Yan, secretary of the Party Committee of XMU, Zhan Xinli, vice president of XMU, and those in charge of the Southern Base for the International Promotion of Mandarin and the offices of the Confucius Institutes were present at the conference.
At the conference, Vice Premier Liu Yandong presented awards of excellence to those outstanding individuals and units among all the Confucius Institutes from across the globe. Zhang Yan, on behalf of Xiamen University, accepted the title of honor “Outstanding Chinese Partner University”. It is the fourth time for XMU to secure the title following three consecutive wins in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively. Besides, the Confucius Institute, co-established by XMU and Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Nigeria, received the title of “Outstanding Confucius Institute” of the year.
Following that, Liu Yandong delivered a keynote speech to the congregation. She quoted President Xi as saying that the Confucius Institute is a window and bridge for the exchange of languages and cultures between China and other countries. The Confucius Institutes belong to China and also belong to the world. Over the past 13 years since day one, especially during the last five years, with the joint efforts of both China and other countries, the Confucius Institutes have maintained a good momentum of rapid development with the passage of time, and have played an increasingly instrumental role in strengthening the friendship between the people of China and other countries, as well as promoting the exchanges across different civilizations. Liu Yandong emphasized that, by using language exchange as a link and mutual learning among different civilizations as a platform, the Confucius Institutes ought to serve as a bridge for friendship across country borders and a propeller for win-win cooperation. According to Liu, it is high time to optimize the layout, improve the level of school running, deepen the reform of teachers, teaching materials and teaching methods, enhance the training of local teachers, and provide customized services to suit diverse and local needs of various countries. What is more, she urged everyone to improve the institutional mechanisms, bring into full play the strengths of both Chinese and foreign parties, and build the Confucius Institute into a world-famous brand for cultural exchanges that embraces diversity, inclusion and harmonious co-existence and make new contributions to the construction of a community with shared future for humanity.
Also at the conference, Zhan Xinli, vice president of XMU, gave a speech entitled “Establishing a Good Public Image of the Confucius Institute” at the Forum of Sino-Foreign University Presidents. She pointed out that in order to build the public image of the Confucius Institute, we should see to it that the language and cultural services are the underpinning, the acceptance and recognition by overseas communities is the criterion and building a community with shared future for humanity is the purpose.
In the meantime, on the occasion of the opening of the global Confucius Institute Conference, XMU capitalized on the opportunity to hold the 9th XMU Confucius Institute Partnership Workshop in Xi'an. Attending the workshop were 43 representatives, including university presidents, representatives of the council, and deans of the Confucius Institutes.
At the workshop, the awarding ceremony was held for the outstanding Confucius Institutes (Confucius Classroom) and individuals of XMU 2017. Two XMU’s partner institutes, i.e., the Confucius Institute at Thailand Empress Dowager University and the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University were awarded the title of “Outstanding Confucius Institute”. Meanwhile, the honor titles of “Excellent individual” went to Robert Summerby-Murray, president of St Mary's University, Canada; Tony Browne, chairman of the Confucius Institute Council of Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand; Du Yun, dean of the Confucius Institute at the Middle East Technical University in Turkey; and Jian Fuai, the Chinese dean of the Confucius Institute at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University.
In his speech, Zhang Yan affirmed the achievements of the 16 Confucius Institutes and 47 Confucius Classrooms in 2017 and acknowledged all parties for their long-term support for the work of the Confucius Institute. Zhang Yan stated that Xiamen University attaches great importance to the work of the Confucius Institute and is committed to promoting in-depth cultural exchanges between China and foreign countries. With the joint efforts of all parties, the Confucius Institutes have already evolved into an important platform for friendly cooperation and cultural exchanges between campuses and across borders. In the future, XMU will, as always, work hand in glove with her foreign partners to strengthen the construction of the Confucius Institutes, doing her part to facilitate cultural exchanges and build a community with shared future for humanity. The workshop turned out well as the participants engaged in heated discussions on how Confucius Institutes promote exchanges between schools and places and improve the quality and educational level of the Confucius Institutes. In addition, XMU also convened the annual council meetings respectively with representatives from four partner universities, including the University of Delaware in USA, St. Mary’s University in Canada, Trier University in Germany, and Stelling Bush University in South Africa.
2017 is the “Quality Year for Confucius Institutes Co-established by Xiamen University”, when the “Confucius Institute Performance Evaluation Index System and Management System” developed by XMU officially went into effect. This indicated that the Confucius Institutes of XMU have embarked on a path of pursuing higher standards and quality. Over the last year, the quality and influence of XMU's Confucius Institutes have been increasing with each passing day. The number of registered students from 16 XMU’s partner Confucius Institutes and 47 partner Confucius Classrooms has hit 50283, an increase of 24% over the previous year. Besides, 907 cultural events were held, having attracted a total of 230,000 participants, which has shown a rapid growth momentum for 11 consecutive years; the number of teachers and students who have participated in the exchange of visits has amounted to 536, and as many as 831 trainees have enrolled in 27 training programs undertaken by XMU. With the close cooperation and full support of the partner Confucius Institutes, Xiamen University successfully arranged for its art troupe comprised of teachers and students to tour five oversea universities in 2017, and organized a Chinese medicine demonstration tour in six schools in UK. These activities are part of the vigorous national effort to spread Chinese culture abroad, promote a broader and deeper understanding of China and its culture among the local people of other countries.
Edited by Fu Chenyun