President Mary McAleese today attended the celebrations of Irish Day at the Ireland Pavilion in the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai.
The President, who is accompanied by her husband Dr Martin McAleese, and Mr Eamon Ryan T.D., Minister for Communications, Energy, and Natural Resources, arrived in Shanghai from Beijing on the 16th of June as part of her 5-day Official State Visit to China. Her Shanghai visit was highlighted by attending a flag raising ceremony at the World Expo in Shanghai, and an official tour to the Ireland Pavilion. Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Ireland and China’s diplomatic relations and 10th anniversary of Ireland’s Asia Strategy, which has China at its heart. "The 30 years have seen great economic and social developments in both countries, and also the development and maturing of our bilateral relationship," McAleese said.
At the Ireland Pavilion, President was shown with the conceptual model design of the new UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland displayed in the Pavilion, which so far remarkably attracted great interests from both Irish and Chinese visitors. The “new home” of the Confucius Institute will be located at a privileged site on UCD Belfield campus. It is intended that the building will be a Symbol of modern Chinese architecture while drawing inspiration from China’s rich architectural heritage. President McAleese Commented on the model as a fantastic design, she further encouraged such project as an important initiative that Ireland needs to further strengthening its links with China, and expressed her support to the development for an early realization.
By accommodating and leveraging the activities of both the UCD’s Confucius Institute for Ireland and Irish Institute for Chinese Studies will become one of Europe’s leading sites for the study of Chinese language and culture. The building will house a lecture theatre, classrooms, resource room, multi-media language laboratories, facilities for distance learning and offices. Upon completion, the building should serve as not only a landmark of Chinese architecture and design in Ireland, but also a “state of the art” centre fully equipped and perfectly appointed to facilitate China-related academic, business, and social activities in Ireland.
Since May 1st, the Shanghai Expo has attracted more than 15 million visitors, over 600,000 visited the Ireland Pavilion with an average waiting time of 3 hours recorded.
Commonalities exist, notwithstanding the huge differences in scale and physical distance between the two countries, which can only enhance the potential for closer relations commented by Dr Liming Wang. He also presented his newly published book “Doing Business in China – The Irish Experience” co-authored with Dr Lan Li and Professor Cathal Brugha to the President, as part of her official touring of the Irish Pavilion at Shanghai Expo.