|Consul General Pan's Remarks on the Launch Event of NUCI|
18 May 2013, Newcastle University
Lord Lieutenant Nigel Sherlock,
Vice-Chancellor Chris Brink of Newcastle University,
President Zhu Chongshi of Xiamen University,
Leader of Newcastle City Council Councillor Nick Forbes,
Minister-Counsellor Shen Yang of the Education Section of the Chinese Embassy,
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
Today, I am very glad to attend the launch event of the Newcastle University Confucius Institute. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Consulate General in Manchester, I’d like to express my warm congratulations to Newcastle University and Xiamen University for you jointly establishing the Confucius Institute, and my sincere respects for all the friends who contributed immensely to this Confucius Institute!
Both Newcastle University and Xiamen University are famous universities respectively in the UK and China. Newcastle University is in the Russell Group of the UK, while Xiamen University is one of the “985” universities of China. They both are well-credited high-level research universities in the world. These two universities jointly establishing a Confucius Institute is truly a strong-strong alliance. At this wonderful moment, we wholeheartedly wish that, with this valuable platform, Newcastle University and Xiamen University may complement and cooperate with each other, make progress together, and conduct extensive and in-depth exchanges and cooperation in more areas of mutual interests.
This is the 3rd Confucius Institute that I help unveil since I took office of the Chinese Consul General in Manchester one and a half years ago. What’s worthy of special mentioning is that, it is really an excitement for me, an alumnus of Xiamen University, to witness my alma mater to establish a Confucius Institute with Newcastle University.
In recent years, along with the fast and stable development, China’s comprehensive strength and international influence are advancing. The “Mandarin Fever” around the world is growing. More and more foreign friends hope to open a window to Chinese culture, know more about China, and understand China by learning the Chinese language. To cater to such growing demands, the Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms are flourishing around the globe. At present in the UK, there are 24 Confucius Institutes and 76 Confucius Classrooms, both being the largest across Europe. The Newcastle University Confucius Institute is the 7th in our Consular District. On the coming 26 June, the Edge Hill Confucius Institute will also be launched, and Hull University is also applying for its Confucius Institute. It is fair to say that the “Mandarin Fever” in our Consular District is rising in tandem with that in the whole world, and demonstrates strong momentum of development. Doubtless to say, the Confucius Institute and the Confucius Classroom have become name cards for China to introduce her language and culture to the world, as well as bridges for the outside to understand China, and thus enhance mutual friendship with China.
In terms of bridge, I assume that many of you are impressed with the various and majestic bridges on River Tyne like I am. Here, so many bridges are abundant with historical and cultural backgrounds. They witnessed the astonishing development of Newcastle, many of which are landmarks and shining pearls of this city. Today, we are here witnessing the birth of a new bridge, namely the Newcastle University Confucius Institute. In my opinion, this is a bridge of cooperation between Newcastle University and Xiamen University, and also a bridge of exchange and friendship between China and UK! She will provide a precious window for the English youth to learn and understand the “China Dream.”
As you know, Newcastle is the largest economic, cultural, and educational centre in the Northeast of England. The history of the relations between Newcastle and China goes back to the Qing Dynasty. At that time, in order to strengthen her navy and resist the Japanese aggression, the then Chinese Qing government entrusted the Armstrong & Company to build two cruisers, the “Chaoyong” and the “Yangwei”, which started their journey to China from Newcastle. That was the first debut of Chinese navy on the world stage, and both warships played important roles in China’s resistance against foreign aggression. In 1982, Newcastle twinned with China’s Taiyuan City, capital of Shanxi Province. Since then, the two cities carried out a series of exchanges and cooperation in many fields. Currently, every year, many Chinese students and scholars come to Newcastle for further study. In Newcastle University alone, there are more than 1600 Chinese students and scholars.
I believe the establishment of the Newcastle University Confucius Institute will definitely promote the relations between Newcastle and China. We sincerely hope that the Confucius Institute to seize the opportunity, make full use of the advantages of the two universities, and for the sake of the future friendship, educate more British youths who know more about Chinese language and culture and are willing to contribute to the solid development of the China-UK relationship. The Chinese Consulate General will provide unswerving support and assistance for all sorts of exchanges and cooperation between Newcastle University and China.
Last but not least, congratulations again to the successful launch of the Newcastle University Confucius Institute!