On November Friday 18th 2011, the second Confucius Classroom affiliated to UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland was launched by the Chinese Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Luo Linquan in Belvedere College S.J.
The launch was attended by the Chinese ambassador to Ireland HE Mr Luo Linquan, UCD President Dr. Hugh Brady, Principal of Belvedere College Mr. Gerry Foley, and various representatives from the Irish government, educational institutions and Irish and Chinese business leaders.
Pic 1 (From left to right) UCD President Dr. Hugh Brady, Belvedere College S.J. Principal Mr. Gerry Foley, HE Mr. Luo Linquan, Chinese ambassador to Ireland, and Dr. Liming Wang, Director of the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland, at the launch of Belvedere College S.J.'s Confucius Classroom, Friday 18th November.
Gerry Foley, principal of Belvedere College S.J., said the school started teaching Chinese culture and language as a TY module four years ago, as has been going from strength to strength since, with the emphasis having shifted to the teaching of Mandarin from 1st and 2nd year, eventually foreseeing Mandarin being taught from 1st to 6th year.
“The benefits to the lives and futures of the students are substantial in a number of ways both measurable, through the learning of the language and the doors this opens, and immeasurable, through the life experience gained” says Mr. Foley, explaining why the Chinese classes and school trips are so important to the students. “Just as important are the international relationships fostered through our Jesuit connections, and this completes a full circle from 1582 when Fr Matteo Ricci was called to Macau on his Jesuit mission.”
He said over 100 pupils had already benefited from taking Chinese lessons and a number of boys had had travelled to Beijing last December to experience Chinese culture first hand and study in tandem with Chinese students.
Pic 2 Launch of Confucius Classroom at Belvedere College S.J.
Dr Liming Wang, director of UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland said the Initiative follows from a three year pilot programme. “The scope of the Chinese language and culture programme has really become a nationwide endeavour, with schools from Sligo to Wexford and everywhere in between, now numbering close to 50 schools and growing fast” he said.
The speeches were followed by 1st and 2nd year Belvedere boys’ performances of Chinese poems and songs, and addresses from past pupils detailing their experiences in relation to Chinese language and culture studies.
Pic 3 HE Mr. Luo Linquan, Chinese ambassador to Ireland, with students from Belvedere College S.J. and their teacher Miss Li Xiaodong from UCD Confucius Institute.