Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Join our hands to develop the Confucius Institutes

By Liu Yandong (China Daily) Updated: 2013-12-12 08:16

3. Make Confucius Institute a cultural brand to enhance traction and adhesion. Confucius Institutes belong to China and even more so the world that have become an instantly recognizable brand in cultural exchanges between China and other countries. Frequent and engaging cultural events are the hallmark of a successful Confucius Institute. In recent years, Confucius Institutes' cultural events combining Chinese and local elements have been quite a sensation in their communities. Next year we are going to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Confucius Institute, which I believe features prominently on the calendar. Many Confucius Institutes have proposed the creation of Confucius Institute Day as a common occasion for festivity. In the second half of this year, the Headquarters staged events marking the Confucius Institute Day in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and Slovenia, which are well received by the local communities. These trial runs have given us a great amount of experiences for the global roll out of Confucius Institute Day next year. We will adhere to the principal of voluntary participation and frugality to organize Confucius Institute Day events that reflect local uniqueness as a way to enhance the profile and influence of Confucius Institutes and grow the sense of identity and belonging in our big family.

4. Strengthen administration to guarantee the development of the Confucius Institute. As a Chinese proverb says: a flock of geese will not fly without their head bird; a formation of foot soldiers will not be brave without their general. The development of an excellent administrative and managerial team especially one with topnotch directors is foundational to the success of Confucius Institutes. Chinese and local Confucius Institutes directors have been working conscientiously and made valuable contributions to their Confucius Institutes' growth. Now confronted with new challenges, we will continue to prioritize the development of Confucius Institute directors by institutionalizing and standardizing the training requirement. We will also facilitate the exchanges and collaboration between directors from different countries. Confucius Institute directors are expected to become more able and skilled to serve at their leadership position and be a role model. Following the Confucius Institute Development Plan, the Headquarters is preliminarily considering the establishment of the Academy of Confucius Institute Director for rotated training of directors and head teachers. The Academy will also be a research facility to host foreign sinologist coming to China. The Academy will have a council as its decision making body and hire leading Chinese and foreign experts as its trainers. I believe with the full support from the university presidents, Confucius Institute directors and all parties, the Academy will be first class and become a home to Confucius Institutes in China and a center of excellence for cultural studies and people-to-people exchanges.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

Confucius Institutes are the fruits born out of sincere cooperation between Chinese and foreign partners. It is an unprecedented innovation in China's history of international exchanges. I want to conclude by quoting from the Book of Changes: If two persons are of the same mind, their sharpness can cut through metal. Let's join our hands and unite our passion and perseverance to make the Confucius Institute an even greater success to promote international exchanges and contribute to the prosperity and cultural advancement for the human society.

A new year is just around the corner, I would like to give you my best wishes. I wish you a happy new year, good health and prosperity. Please also send my best regards to teachers and students at your Confucius Institutes or Confucius Classrooms.

(China Daily 12/12/2013 page8)

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