During his official State visit to Ireland the Chinese Vice-Premier, Mr Zeng Peiyan opened the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland on 26th September 2006. This joint venture between UCD, the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) and Renmin University of China, offers courses and programmes in Chinese language and culture and aims to facilitate the expansion of economic ties between China and Ireland.
The Chinese Government plans to have an international network of 100 Confucius Institutes established across the globe by 2010. The Institutes will spearhead the teaching of Chinese language and culture worldwide and strengthen economic and business ties between China and countries around the world. More than 85 institutes have been established to date in the United States, Canada, Europe, South Africa, Australia, Central Asia, India, and Japan.
The UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland will develop and promote teaching in Chinese Studies in Ireland and to establish a centre of HSK – Chinese Language Proficiency Examination – for testing and preparation. Through the Institute, Chinese scholars and researchers will be encouraged to come to Ireland and to consider Ireland as a potential partner for research and technological developments and Irish scholars and researchers will be encouraged to consider China as a potential target for partnership and enterprise. As well as educating students, the Confucius Institute will establish a programme of activities to enhance cultural understanding of China for the business community and for Government departments. The Institute will also promote economic links between Chinese links with the Irish government, businesses and the wider community.
The Chinese Vice-Premier also offically launched the BComm with Chinese Studies. Already the first cohort of EU students (11 Irish and 2 German) has begun their B.Comm International Business with Chinese degree. The language and culture component of their degree is provided by the Confucius Institute and the business element by the UCD Quinn School of Business.