September 07, 2012
Confucius Institute opens in Fiji-based university
Updated: 2012-09-06 15:56 (Xinhua)
SUVA - A Confucius Institute, offering Chinese studies, was opened in the Suva-based University of the South Pacific (USP) on Thursday, which will greatly benefit not only the Asians but locals and the region as well.
It not only offers studies on Chinese language but also on Chinese culture and Chinese history.
Fiji's Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister's Office Colonel Pio Tikoduadua, China's Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters Deputy Director General Jing Wei, Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Huang Yong and USP Vice Chancellor and President Professor Rajesh Chandra attended the opening ceremony.
Speaking as the chief guest, Tikoduadua said the Chinese language will benefit all Pacific Islanders. Apart from the other subjects it will be a bonus for students to learn mandarin, Chinese culture, dance and many more considering the increasing Chinese influence in Fiji and the region.
He said students who are willing to be engaged in diplomatic institutions in the future will also benefit from this institution, adding local Chinese teachers and students will also be provided the necessary training.
As part of the opening, a new Confucius statue was also unveiled.
In February 2011, China's Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Fiji had signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a Confucius Institute dedicated to offering Chinese language and culture courses at the USP.
The ministry said in its media release at the time that the BUPT-USP agreement had been supported by the Confucius Institute headquarters in Beijing, known as "Haban".
The Confucius Institute in the USP is actually the first of its kind in Fiji as well as in the whole Pacific Islands region.
Speaking after signing the document, BUPT Vice President Ren Xiaomin was full of praise for his USP colleagues and emphasized the important role Confucius had on the Chinese education system.
"This is another step towards increased relations between our countries," Ren said, adding "USP is a wonderful candidate for the establishment of the institute."
"BUPT will strive to develop and promote more development programs between our institutions."
This institution is a solid platform for USP to begin cooperation with Chinese universities, as tertiary institutions embark on cooperating with their overseas counterparts.
By the end of 2010, 322 Confucius Institutes and 369 Confucius classrooms had been established in 96 countries and regions around the world.
Confucius Institutes are non-profit public institutions aligned with the Government of China that aim to promote Chinese language and culture, support local Chinese teaching internationally, and facilitate cultural exchanges.