The Minister of State for Training and Skills, Ciarán Cannon T.D. has praised the work of Ireland’s two Confucius Institutes as he begins taking Mandarin lessons with the UCD Confucius Institute.
“Our relations with China have never been more important,” the Minister said. “We need to keep up the momentum developed with the Taoiseach’s visit to China, and the visit of Vice President Xi Jinping to Ireland.”
“I am very pleased to see that the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland has worked with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in developing the new unit on Chinese language and culture for transition year students and I look forward to many similar developments as our relationship with China develops over the coming years.”
“During my education mission to China I was struck by the scale of the opportunity for Ireland in Asia. We must realise however that inter-cultural sensitivity and understanding have never been more important if Irish people and businesses are to succeed in such a vastly different cultural environment.”
“Education is one of the strongest links between Ireland and China and as a Minister in the Department of Education and Skills, I hope to be doing a lot of business with China in the coming years. I want to be able to be able to demonstrate my respect towards Chinese culture, and show that we are serious about using education as a bridge between our two countries.”
“I want to thank Dr Hugh Brady, the President of UCD, and Dr Liming Wang, Director of the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland, for their work in promoting understanding of Chinese culture in Ireland,” added the Minister.
“I am delighted the Minister is undertaking this programme," said Dr Hugh Brady, President of UCD. "Learning Mandarin is a most important step in developing bonds between our two countries, and we place a special emphasis on understanding culture to overcome communication barriers."
"Through these programmes in the UCD Confucius Institute, we aim to share the richness, nuances and complexities of Chinese and Asian society," he said.
"We are in the planning stage of setting up a Beijing-Dublin International campus with our partner institution, the Beijing University of Technology, so I hope that on his next visit to China, the Minister will be able to attend our campus and converse with students in Mandarin,” he added.
Minister Cannon has already started his Chinese lessons with a top Chinese tutor from the UCD Confucius Institute and with his keen ear for languages is sure to progress rapidly and wow the locals on his next visit to Beijing.