A new centre dedicated to promoting Chinese language and culture is to be opened at Newcastle University.
The first Confucius Institute in the region will help to build closer academic, cultural, economic and social ties between the North East and China.
The new institute, which will be based in the Old Library Building at the heart of the Newcastle University campus, is a joint venture between Newcastle and Xiamen University.
Confucius Institutes are worldwide non-profit public institutions designed by the Chinese government to promote Chinese language and culture through teaching programmes and cultural exchanges. They are overseen by the Office of Chinese Language Council International, known as Hanban.
Newcastle University Vice-Chancellor Professor Chris Brink said: “This is a significant development for both our universities. The Confucius Institute based at Newcastle University will be a focus for Chinese language and culture regionally and nationally. It will be an excellent addition to our university and will help us to develop the way we teach Chinese at Newcastle.
“It will also help to bring closer ties between our region and China and between Newcastle and Xiamen University. We will also share our expertise with schools and businesses to help create a better understanding of one of the world’s great cultures.”
Xiamen University is based in Fujian province in south east China. Its President Professor Zhu Chongshi said: “I consider this Confucius Institute an important landmark for the two universities and, with the effort and support of Newcastle University, would like to make this Confucius Institute the best in the world.
“The Confucius Institute at Newcastle University will not only become a bridge between the two universities for future cooperation but also a platform for deepening the friendship between our two countries.”
The new institute is expected to open later this year. There are currently around 2,000 Chinese students studying at Newcastle.
published on: 2 March 2012