Opening of the Confucius Institute at Lancaster University
Lancaster University has launched a major new hub for Chinese language and culture with the opening of the Confucius Institute.
The Institute, which will complement the extensive China research and teaching activities across the University, has been awarded jointly to Lancaster and its partner the prestigious South China University of Technology (SCUT) in Guangzhou by the Office of Chinese Language Council International (known as Hanban).
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Bob McKinlay said: “We are delighted that the Confucius Institute will enable us to broaden and deepen our ties with China. This will offer Mandarin language and Chinese culture courses to students, schools and businesses in the region and it will support enterprise in the North West.”
Guests included Professor Wang Yingjun, President of SCUT, Professor Zhu Min, Vice President of SCUT, Mr Pan Yundong, the Consul General in Manchester and Mr Tian Xiaogang, Minister Counsellor from the Education section of the Chinese Embassy in the UK.
The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Lancaster, Councillor Paul Woodruff, also attended.
Professor Wang said the Institute would serve as a bridge between the UK and China.
“The establishing of the Confucius Institute has great significance in the exchange of education and culture between our two countries. The British higher education system is an important model for China and we hope to learn from each other, inspire each other and have a mutually beneficial relationship.”
They joined the new Director of the Confucius Institute Dr Huang Qihai at the celebrations, which included a traditional Chinese lion dance performed by Accrington-based Northern Dragons.
The dance is to bring good fortune and before the lion performed, it was blessed by an eye opening or eye dotting ceremony in order to awaken the spirit of the lion. There were also performances by Chinese musicians, a display of Taiji and Guzheng (a Chinese traditional instrument) and bone sculptures.
The focus of the new Lancaster University Confucius Institute will be the development of credit bearing Chinese language and culture programmes for students in all faculties. Other Chinese programmes on language and culture will be open to students, staff, regional businesses and the North West community including schools.
It will be distinctive through its commitment to developing programmes which are adapted to support innovation, management and sustainable development in the North West. These are areas of expertise where both partners excel.
The Confucius Institute will be housed in a specially refurbished building on campus.
Earlier this year a signing ceremony for the Confucius Institute was held in China. President Li Yuanyuan (SCUT) and Professor Paul Wellings, Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster, signed the agreement over the Confucius Institute on behalf of the two universities. Mr Wei Zhonglin, deputy director from the Department of Education of Guangdong Province, and Mr Peter Harrington, Consul of Science and Innovation from the British Consulate General Guangzhou, also attended the ceremony with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster, Professor McKinlay.
At the ceremony, Li extended his gratitude to Hanban and the Chinese Consulate General in Manchester for their great support and assistance. He said that SCUT will employ its best resources in management, staff and teaching materials to provide high quality education to learners of Chinese language and culture in the Lancaster region. Also, Li expected to further the cooperation between the two universities in other fields on the basis of Confucius Institute.