On 1st February, the second day of the Chinese Year of the Horse, the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland (CII) and the Galway Education Centre held the official launch of the “China Week” and HSK & YCT examination hub at the Galway Education Centre.
Councillor Pádraig Conneely, Mayor of Galway City, Ms Zhang Shujing, Economic & Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy, Ireland, Mr. Bernard Kirk, Director of the Galway Education Centre, Prof. Liming Wang, Director of the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland,and Mr. Stephen McArdle, President of the Chinese Teachers Association of Ireland, all attended the event and delivered welcoming speeches. Speaking at the event, Councillor Pádraig Conneely said, “It is a great pleasure for me to launch theChina Week and the Chinese Examination Site for the promotion of Chinese Studies, the teaching of Mandarin and future cooperation between schools in China and the West of Ireland region. It is a very important day for education in the West of Ireland.”
Pictured are (L to R): Mr. Bernard Kirk, Director of the Galway Education Centre, Councillor Pádraig Conneely, Mayor of Galway City, Ms Zhang Shujing, Economic & Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy, Ireland, and Prof. Liming Wang, Director of the UCD CII.
After the speech, the teachers from the UCD CII sang the Irish song Trasna na dTonnta, and impressed the audience with their beautiful Irish. This was followed by a performance of traditional Chinese instruments: Pipa (Chinese lute) by Ms. Peng Ji, Guzheng by Ms. Jiarong Cui, and Hulusi by Ms. Ziyi Yu. Next the Chen Tai Chi Irish martial arts group from Galway performed Chen-style TaijiQuan and expressed their fondness for Chinese culture.
Irish Students' exhibition of Chinese paper-cutting for the "China Week"
In the afternoon, in the absorbing workshops on Chinese Culture and Folk Arts, the participants practised traditional Chinese art forms such as Chinese knots, Chinese tea making, paper cutting, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese dancing and various Chinese musical instruments under the demonstration and instruction of Chinese teachers from the CII.
Teachers from the UCD CII singing the Irish song Trasna na dTonnta.
Following the inception of the UCD CII Regional Centre at the Galway Education Centre in October 2012, a 10-week Irish teachers’ training programme was organised with 30 Irish teachers enrolled in the first session. Since then, the training programme has run for four terms with more than 50 Irish teachers participating.
A participant learning Chinese knots under the instruction of a teacher from the UCD CII.
Bernard Kirk, director of the Galway Education Centre spoke of his hopes for the future of the partnership, “It is our plan to work closely with the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland to help develop Chinese Studies in the region and secure ‘Confucius Classroom’ status for the Galway Education Centre. We hope to develop the Galway Education Centre as a hub for training and learning in Chinese for the West of Ireland.”
An Irish student practising the Chinese calligraphy "xin nian hao" (happy new year)
Prof. Liming Wang, director of the UCD CII, said, “HSK, the Chinese proficiency test, is the world recognised language examination, while YCT is a language test for the youth. The launch of the Chinese examination site in Galway is to meet the increasing demand for Chinese studies in post primary schools in the Galway/Mayo and broader western Ireland region. This is a major development for teachers and young people in the West of Ireland and we look forward to playing an active role in the progress and further development of this exciting, innovative and important initiative.”