From 15th to 17th June, the 2014 joint conference of newly-established Confucius Institutes in Europe, organised by the Confucius Institute Headquarters and hosted by the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland (CII), was held in University College Dublin. There were delegates from 48 newly-established Confucius Institutes in 21 countries in Europe. The theme of the conference was to share the experience of running the Confucius Institutes and promote their sustainable development. Based on the current status of the Confucius Institutes, the delegates discussed five topics including the planning of a “Confucius Institute Day”, fund raising from multiple sources, the implementation of “Confucius China Studies Programmes” in universities, the establishment of the rules and regulations of the Confucius Institute, and the promotion of Chinese Language Teaching into National Educational Systems
Mr Liu Yushan speaking at the opening ceremony of the Joint Conference
On 15th June, Mr Liu Yunshan, a member of the Central Politburo Standing Committee of the CPC, attended the opening ceremony of the conference and delivered the keynote speech. In his speech, HE Mr. Liu Yunshan pointed out that the Confucius Institute is a bridge of cultural exchanges. He expressed his wish that the Confucius Institutes will become a “high-speed railway”, connecting the dreams of China, the dreams of every country and the dreams of the world. HE Mr. Liu Yunshan also stated in his speech that there were 455 Confucius Institutes and 680 Confucius Classrooms in 121 countries all over the world. He emphasised that language was a carrier of culture, a tool for people to communicate with each other, and a bridge for different cultures to connect. It is for the Confucius Institutes to fulfill this mission. HE Mr. Liu Yunshan gave UCD CII 1000 Chinese textbooks and invited 100 students from UCD CII to join the summer camp of the Chinese Bridge Competition, in order to support UCD CII to promote Chinese language and culture in Ireland.
Group photo with all the delegates of the 2014 Joint Conference of New Confucius Institutes in Europe
Mr. Ruairi Quinn, Minister for Education and Skills, Madam Xu Lin, Director-General of Hanban and Chief Executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, Prof. Chen Yulu, president of Renmin University of China and Prof. Andrew Deeks, president of UCD also attended the event. Prof. Liming Wang, the director of UCD CII, hosted the opening ceremony.
UCD CII also organised some performances at the Opening Ceremony. There was folk music performed by the National Dance Company of Ireland, beautiful singing by the students from the Confucius Classroom at Jesus and Mary College, Goatstown, and a Chinese rap by the UCD Confucius Institute Students, impressing the audience with their beautiful music and perfect Chinese.
Mr Ruairi Quinn presented the Confucius Medal to Madam Xu Lin
After the ceremony, the Confucius Medal was awarded to Madam Xu Lin, the Director-General of Hanban and Chief Executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, by Mr. Ruairi Quinn, the Minister for Education and Skills in Ireland. The Confucius Medal is to honour those who have made great contributions to China-Ireland relations, especially through communication and cooperation in education. It was awarded to Mr. Guo Jinlong, mayor of Beijing in 2011, and HE Mr. Declan Kelleher, Ambassador of Ireland to China in 2013, and Mr. Sha Hailin, the Chinese ambassador to Ireland from 2002 to 2005, in 2014.