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USP Cook Islands Campus Hosts China Seminar

USP Cook Islands Campus Hosts China Seminar

The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Cook Islands Campus hosted a seminar, titled, “The Cook Islands and the People’s Republic of China: A Future of Enhanced Connectivity - Celebrating 20 years of Friendship and Co-operation” on 17 July, 2017.

It was co-hosted with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration and attended by China’s Special Envoy to the Pacific Islands, His Excellency Mr Du Qiwen; China’s Ambassador to New Zealand, His Excellency, Mr Wang Lutong and Honourable Albert Nicholas, Cook Islands Minister for Internal Affairs.

Presentations were made on the past and future of Cook Islands-China relations by Ms Tepaeru Herrmann, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and Mr Halatoa Fua, USP alumni and Chief Executive Officer of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, with particular reference to China’s One Belt and One Road initiative and its focus on connectivity and co-operation.

Mr Ben Ponia, Secretary of Marine Resources made a presentation on opportunities in Pacific fisheries entitled Oceans of Connectivity.

The seminar was officially opened by Mr Tevai Matapo OBE, Chair of USP Advisory Committee with a parallel opening delivered in the Chinese language by Mr Augustus Meyer, a Confucius Classroom student at the Cook Islands Campus.

As part of the seminar, the Ambassadors toured the Confucius Classroom and met with students. A choir of 24 children from Immanuela Akatemia School who are studying Chinese through the Confucius Classroom provided a rendition of the song “Fireflies Fly” in the Chinese language. H.E Mr Du Qiwen and H.E Mr Wang Lutong acknowledged the work of the Confucius Classroom in Cook Islands in very positive terms.

Ms Hermann conveyed the Cook Islands Government’s gratitude to the University’s co-operation and excellent arrangements.

“The children’s participation was particularly special, as was those of the current students of the Confucius Classroom,” Ms Hermann said.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cook Islands, one of the many things to be proud of is the set-up of the Confucius Classroom as a means to getting the Cook Islanders more in touch with the Chinese language and China as a whole.

Mr Roderick Dixon, Campus Director of the Cook Islands Campus, was very pleased by the recognition of the University as a site for academic encounter between representatives of the Cook Islands Government and the Chinese Government, and with the positive acknowledgement of the Confucius Classroom in bringing about closer cooperation between the two (2) countries through the teaching of language and culture.

The Confucius classroom at the University’s Cook Islands Campus commenced teaching in 2015 with a Social Beginners class of 35 students.

In 2016, the Chinese credit course LL181 and the Social Beginner Courses (Levels 1, 2 and 3) were offered by Ms Xiaoshi Wang from Bejing University of Posts and Telecommunications. In 2016, the total enrolment reached 120.

In February, 2017, Mr Li Hongfei, a volunteer teacher from South China Normal University was additionally assigned to the Cook Islands Classroom.

During the first half of 2017, two Chinese credit courses LL181 and LL281, Social Beginner Courses (Levels 1 and 3), Intermediate Course (Level 1), Chinese courses for Kids (Kids 1 and 2), and an additional course for Imanuela Akatemia Christian School were offered.

An in-house training course was also offered for the Ministry of Marine Resources (Fisheries Compliance Officers) and the Cook Islands Maritime Police.

In semester 1 2017, total enrolment was around 60. The Campus also held three cultural events including celebrations of the Chinese New Year, a Chinese Movie Night, and a graduation ceremony.

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