On Thursday the 17th of October 2019, Mr. He Xiangdong, Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, and his wife, Ms. Xia Lining, visited the Confucius Classroom at Belvedere College (affiliated with UCD Confucius Institute). Mr. Huang He, Political Counsellor of the Embassy, Ms. Xue He, Commercial Counsellor, Professor Liming Wang, Director of the UCD Confucius Institute, Mr. Wei Zhang, Chinese director, and Dr Lan Li, Deputy Director were in company.
Pictured from left to right: Mr. Gerry Foley, Ms. Xia Lining and Mr. He Xiangdong
Mr. Gerry Foley, Principal of Belvedere College, welcomed the delegation and recalled President Xi Jinping’s (China’s vice president at the time) visit to Belvedere’s Confucius Classroom in 2012.
Ambassador He expressed that the Confucius Classroom is not only a platform for students to learn and understand Chinese culture, but also a bridge to enhance the friendship between Chinese and Irish people. He said, “Seeing so many students enjoy and learn Chinese and Chinese culture, I feel I can see a bright future for China-Ireland relations."
The delegation viewing students’ work in the Confucius Classroom
The delegation then visited the Confucius Classroom and spoke with Gao Juan, Belvedere’s resident Chinese teacher, and Cillian Forrester, student representative. After viewing Chinese calligraphy, paintings, photos and other works of students in the classroom, Ambassador He encouraged the students to keep learning about China and the Chinese language, and then presented Chinese books and Chinese cultural souvenirs to them.
Ambassador He presenting gifts to Belvedere College
Established in 1832, Belvedere College is one of the oldest and most prestigious secondary schools in Ireland. James Joyce, celebrated writer, and Garret FitzGerald, former Taoiseach, both graduated from Belvedere.
Belvedere College began collaborating with UCD Confucius Institute in 2008 and was one of the first secondary schools in Ireland to offer Chinese courses. In 2011, Belvedere applied to establish the Confucius Classroom under UCD Confucius Institute.
For more than a decade, the school has offered Chinese language and culture courses at different levels for secondary school students from first to sixth year, and has prepared outstanding graduates with Chinese language skills and knowledge of Chinese culture for higher education in Ireland.
Currently, the school has three Chinese language teachers, one is a local Chinese teacher hired by the school, while the other two are volunteer teachers from UCD Confucius Institute.