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Ambassador Wang Ke's Remarks on the Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Launch of the Confucius Institute at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus
(April 20th, 2015)

Hon. Ronald Jones, Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation,

Hon. Senator Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade,

Sir Hilary Beckles, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus,

Mr. Huang Jin, President of China University of Political Science and Law,

Excellencies from the Diplomatic Corps,

Distinguished Guests,

Dear Teachers, Students and Friends,

Good morning!

We warmly welcome you to this long-anticipated launch of the Confucius Institute here at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Barbados, I would like to express my heart-felt congratulations on the official establishment of the first Confucius Institute in Barbados.

Setting up a Confucius Institute in the Cave Hill Campus was an important consensus reached by H.E. President Xi Jinping of China, and Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, during their historic meeting in Port of Spain in June, 2013. Over the past two years, thanks to the joint efforts made by all the relevant sides, the idea finally becomes a reality today. Therefore, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Barbados, Sir Hilary and the Cave Hill Campus, the Confucius Institute Headquarters of China, Mr. Huang Jin and CUPL, as well as all the staff of the two universities, who have made tremendous contributions to this program.

Confucius was one of the greatest philosophers and educators in the more than 5,000 years Chinese history. He endeavored all his life to advocate the ideas of humanity, righteousness, etiquette, and integrity; as well as the values of "harmony in diversity" and "don't do unto others what you don't want others to do unto you". All these ideas and values make up the essence and spirit of traditional Chinese Culture. The Institute named after Confucius, not only shows the distinct Chinese characteristic, but also carries China's sincere wishes of enhancing international cultural exchanges, promoting friendships with other countries, and building a harmonious world with the international community.

In addition, language is the most effective tool to understand and communicate with a country and its people. As China has achieved rapid economic and social development, more and more foreigners manifest their desires of learning the Chinese language and understanding Chinese culture. 11 years ago, the first Confucius Institute was launched in South Korea. Up to now, 475 Confucius Institutes and 851 Confucius Classrooms have been established in 126 countries and regions, which provided opportunities for more than 150 million foreigners to learn the Chinese language.

In recent years, we are glad to witness that the China-Barbados relations, especially the educational exchanges and cooperation between the two countries, have developed rapidly and in depth, along with a growing number of Barbadians following the global trend of studying Chinese language. So far, the Chinese Government has granted scholarships to nearly 60 Barbadian students for their graduate or post-graduate study in China. Some of these beneficiaries after their graduations have been vigorously working on promoting the friendship and cooperation between China and Barbados. In these two years, the Chinese Government Scholarships which were provided to the Barbadian side have further increased; and this year 19 students in all will get the scholarship to start or continue their study in Chinese universities. With the support from the two governments, the Chinese language has been taught at Cave Hill Campus for the last 4 years. The Chinese lecturer Mr. Xu Bo told me that there have been about 150 Barbadian students who have taken Chinese language courses. Not so long ago, the students from Chinese language course gave a fantastic performance at the 16th Annual Inter-Campus UWI Foreign Language Theatre Festival. I was very much impressed by their fluent Chinese, and affection for Chinese culture. I have been working in this country for more than a year, and have come across a lot of Barbadian friends, especially the young people, who express to me their wishes of learning Chinese language, because some of them love Chinese culture, some plan to do business with Chinese partners, and some are interested in exploring career opportunities in China. The establishment of the Confucius Institute meets their desire, and I hope Barbadian friends take this opportunity to learn Chinese language, so as to better understand Chinese culture, learn more about China and contribute to the friendship and cooperation between China and Barbados.

The University of the West Indies is the most famous and outstanding university in the Caribbean. The Cave Hill Campus has continually educated a number of top talents for Barbados and the Caribbean in the areas of humanities, law, medical science, science and technology and social science. The China University of Political Science and Law is one of the top universities in China, which is well known for legal academics, and also enjoys a distinguished reputation in arts, history, philosophy, economics, management, and education. The graduates of the CUPL have assumed a leadership role in the innovation and advancement of legal thoughts in China. I really anticipate that the two universities could start from building the Confucius Institute together to enhance their campus collaboration, conduct academic exchanges and promote common development. What I anticipate even more is that the two universities make concerted efforts to build this Confucius Institute into an influential and distinctive platform in Barbados and the Caribbean to teach Chinese language, introduce China, facilitate cultural exchanges, and promote the China-Barbados and China-Caribbean friendly cooperation.

In closing, congratulations again to the launch of the Confucius Institute at the Cave Hill Campus, and I wish the Institute achieves a flourishing and sustained development in the years ahead.

Thank you!

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