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UC hosts world’s newest Confucius Institute

UC hosts world’s newest Confucius Institute

An agreement establishing a Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury has been signed by the First Vice-Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.

Vice Premier Li Keqiang signed the agreement with UC Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr during a visit to the University.

Confucius Institutes are not-for-profit centres within foreign universities designed to support the teaching of Chinese language and culture. They operate in partnership with a Chinese university and are financially supported by the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), part of the Chinese Ministry of Education. There are around 328 Confucius Institutes in 82 countries and regions.

The University of Canterbury’s new Confucius Institute is a joint venture with Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan, widely regarded as one of the top ten universities in the Chinese higher education system. The University has been cooperating in teaching and research with HUST since 2005, when Christchurch and Wuhan signed a “Friendship City” agreement.

Vice-Premier Li visited the University during a three day official visit to New Zealand. Vice Premier Li, who holds an LLB and a PhD in Economics from Peking University, is deputy to Premier Wen Jiabao and responsible for a broad portfolio including education, economy, finance and development.

Vice-Premier Li led a delegation of approximately 65 members, including the Deputy Secretary General of the State Council and the Vice-Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture and Commerce. The visit was hosted by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Rod Carr, and official guests included the Hon. Pansy Wong, Minister for Ethnic Affairs, the Hon. Kate Wilkinson, Mayor Bob Parker and Mayoress Joanna Parker and Karen Sewell, Secretary of the Ministry of Education.

In welcoming the Vice-Premier to the University, Dr Carr stressed the importance of building strong, mutually beneficial relationships between universities in New Zealand and China. “Tomorrow’s graduates will need to be able to do business as comfortably in Beijing as in London and New York,’ he said.

“The new Confucius Institute marks an important step in the University’s strategy of internationalising its curriculum, faculty and student body, to provide an outward-looking, world class learning environment.”

ENDS

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