|Confucius Institute Launched at the University of Liberia|
By Chinese Embassy in Liberia
The Confucius Institute at the University of Liberia (UL) was formally launched on December 18, 2008 in UL main campus. H.E. Mr. Zhou Yuxiao, Chinese Ambassador to Liberia and Professor Ansu Sonii, Acting President of UL unveiled the nameplate of the institute in a colorful event.
In his keynote speech, Ambassador Zhou recalled the motive leading to the establishment of the institute. According to him, many Liberian people, especially university students expressed their eagerness to learn Chinese here in Liberia. The former president of UL, Dr. Conteh even came to Ambassador Zhou for a serious discussion on the issue. Later on, the idea got the support of the Confucius Institute Headquarters and the preliminary work began. Finally, the institute was launched and began its teaching activities. He expressed his appreciation to the parent universities, namely UL and Changsha University of Science & Technology (CUST) for their valuable support as well as the Chinese and Liberian directors of the institute for successfully launching the institute despite numerous difficulties.
He told the audience that it is of great importance for one to grasp a foreign language in the era of globalization. He attributed the success of China partly to the popularity of foreign language learning there. China’s experience has proved that, said the ambassador, foreign language learning doesn’t mean cultural invasion as some people worries. We welcome foreign English teachers to “invade” us, joked the senior diplomat. He pointed out that Chinese is the top language by population. If one speaks Chinese, he will be able to communicate with nearly one fourth of the world population. Therefore, the demand for Chinese learning is ever increasing. That is why China sets up nearly 300 Confucius Institutes in about 80 countries all over the world.
According to Ambassador Zhou, the launching of Confucius Institute marks a new chapter in the Sino-Liberian cultural exchanges and adds much momentum to the already cordial relations between the two countries. But he quickly pointed out that the institute is still a new-born baby which needs continued care and support. He expressed his hope that with the sincere efforts from the parent universities, the Chinese Embassy and the institute directors, the Confucius Institute at UL would one day become the best Chinese language learning and cultural center in West Africa. In his speech, Ambassador Zhou also briefed the audience on the progress of China-aided educational projects.
Professor Wang Yaozhong, Chairman of University Council and head of a CUST delegation, expressed the hope that cultural exchanges between the two countries could be improved through the Confucius Institute. We are in the same boat, and we will work together to propel the boat to a bright future, said Professor Wang. He promised that best students from the Confucius Institute will be granted opportunies to study in CUST under scholarship program.
A brief introduction about Confucius, his thoughts and philosophy as well as the development of Confucius Institutes was made at the program by Dr. Alpha Bah, Liberian Director of the institute.
During the intervals of the program, Ambassador Zhou taught the audience some simple Chinese such as “sheng dan kuai le”(Merry Christmas), “da jia hao”(Hello, everybody). The students of the institute and the Chorus of UL singed Chinese songs with self-written lyrics, making the program an ocean of joy and happiness.
The program was also attended by members of the Board of Trustees as well as faculty and students of UL.