- Language Tips
Xu Lin, director of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, received a French order of chivalry on Friday for her work to promote Chinese culture in France and communications between youngsters in both countries.
The decoration, the Order of Academic Palms, is given to academic, cultural and educational persons of note. It was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte and made into an order in 1955.
Initially given exclusively to teachers or professors, the award was modified in 1866 so that it could go to anyone who has made a large contribution to French education and culture, including foreigners.
Sylvie Bermann, the French ambassador, bestowed it on Xu in Beijing.
About 30 Chinese people have received the Order of Academic Palms.
Xu said the honor was "a recognition of the Confucius Institute's contributions to promoting communications across borders and building the two countries' friendship".
According to French education authorities, more than 700 colleges and schools in France offer Mandarin classes.
Xu said the Confucius Institute opened 15 institutes in France in the past seven years. The 380 Mandarin classes in 2011 attracted more than 5,600 students.
China itself is home to about 100,000 students learning French, and French classes are offered at 175 Chinese colleges and schools.