Confucius Institute bridges gap between cultures

日期: 2013-12-11
浏览次数: 13

CULTURAL BRIDGE

China's Confucius Institute is a non-profit, international public educational organization, similar to Britain's British Council, France's Alliance Francaise, Germany's Goethe Institute or Spain's Cervantes Institute.

Built in cooperation with a local educational institution and run by a bilateral committee and dual-presidency structure, more than 530 Confucius Institutes and 1,110 Confucius Classrooms have landed in 149 countries and regions over the 14 years since its debut in Seoul.

'The U.S. and China will never really understand each other unless we study their language and culture and share experiences that build a foundation for dialogue,' said Susan Jain, executive director of the Confucius Institute of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), which was founded in 2007.

'We've been criticized by some far-right Senators of being too close to China. That's ironic because our top priority has been to help under-privileged kids here in the U.S. get ahead,' said Jain.

'Our cultures, our economies, our destinies are irrevocably intertwined. Young people get that, in spite all the rhetoric and negativity they hear from Washington,' said theater director Peter Sellers, now UCLA professor in world arts and culture. 'The Institute opens doors.'

In Germany, the 17th Confucius Institute was launched in 2016 in the northeastern town Stralsund. Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the inauguration, 'Germany has a rich culture and traditions. We also know that China has a long history of five thousand years of civilization. Confucius Institute can contribute to promoting communication and understanding between the two peoples.'

Similar to the Confucius Institute in London, the one at Merkel's 'political home' features traditional Chinese medicine programs. There's one in Kenya focused on textiles, in Ethiopia on vocational education, and another at the Royal Danish Academy of Music on Chinese music. Confucius Institutes around the world cater to local needs.

Academic exchange is becoming another part of the Institute's identity. In late September, the school at Paris Diderot University hosted a seminar on social administration. Thanks to the Confucius Institute at the University of Geneva, visiting Chinese archaeologists learned from the techniques of their Swiss counterparts during a 10-day workshop last summer.


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