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H.E. Ambassador Wang Ke's Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the First Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in the Caribbean Region and the Opening of the New Office for the Confucius Institute at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus
2017/05/22

The Honourable Marston Gibson, Chief Justice of Barbados,

The Honourable Ronald Jones, Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation of Barbados,

Professor Eudine Barriteau, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the West Inidies, Cave Hill Campus,

Madame Jing Wei, Deputy Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) of China,

Mr. Hu Ming, Chairman of Council of China University of Political Science and Law,

Directors and representatives from Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classes in the Caribbean,

Teachers and students,

Friends from media,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

Good evening.

Let me begin by conveying my sincere thanks to Professor Eudine Barriteau for having me at today’s ceremony. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I warmly welcome Madame Jing Wei and Mr. Hu Ming who lead their respective Chinese delegations and all the directors and coordinators from the Confucius Institutes in other Caribbean countries.

We just toured with excitement the newly-opened building with rich Chinese style and its spacious, well-equipped offices and classrooms, where the Confucius Institute is relocated. It is what I really look forward to and surely will make the Confucius Institute U.W.I. Cave Hill more appealing to its students. I extend my warm congratulations to the Confucius Institute U.W.I. Cave Hill upon moving into your new home.

Tonight is another important moment for U.W.I. and the educational collaboration between China and Barbados, and China and Caribbean as well. As the most renowned university in the Caribbean, the U.W.I. has established three Confucius Institutes on its three campuses in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados. Also, the U.W.I.-China Institute of Information Technology has been co-established with Chinese tertiary institution in an effort to create the “Silk Road of Education” between China and the Caribbean. I would like to pay my tribute to Vice-Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles, Principle Professor Eudine Barriteau for their foresight and commitment to the development of Confucius Institutes in the region and the enhancement of the exchanges between U.W.I. and its Chinese counterparts. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation, on behalf of the Chinese Government, to Prime Minister The Right Honourable Freundel Stuart and Minister of Education The Honourable Ronald Jones and the Barbadian Government, who have always championed the Confucius Institute U.W.I. Cave Hill.

I am very pleased to recall that since the first Confucius Institute was officially set up at U.W.I. Mona Campus in 2009, five more Confucius Institutes and one Confucius Class took their roots in the English-speaking Caribbean countries. Today, the First ever Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in the Caribbean is held and U.W.I. is selected to play the host, which not only reflects the thriving development of the Confucius Institutes in the Caribbean, but also lauds the one after another achievements Confucius Institute U.W.I. Cave Hill has proudly made.

Established in April, 2015,the Confucius Institute at Cave Hill, in just 2 years, has organized various Chinese courses and culture events both on and off campus, teaching and training more than 2,000 persons and vigorously showcasing Chinese culture. It has become a well-known platform for language and culture exchanges between China and Barbados, while its teachers and volunteers enjoy the title of “goodwill ambassadors” for our two countries. My gratitude goes to all the staff of this Confucius Institute who have made unremitting endeavor. Also, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and appreciation to the valuable support from China Confucius Institute Headquarters and the CUPL.

As Chinese Ambassador, I always reflect on the driving force to the vigorous development of the Confucius Institutes in the Caribbean. Firstly, it is the unique Chinese culture and the civilization of 5000 years that allure many more Caribbean people to know China. Secondly, it is China’s remarkable economic and social achievements and its huge contribution to the world development that propel the Caribbean countries to understand “China’s story” and seize the opportunities to benefit from China’s development. Thirdly, it is the continuous growing and deepening of China-Caribbean win-win cooperation in all sectors in recent years that prompt a wave of enthusiasm about China and Chinese language in the Caribbean.

It is indeed that over the past 8 years, the Confucius Institutes in the Caribbean have made great strides, and looking ahead, it has a long way to go and much to do. The First Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in the Caribbean Region is a right event and a right time, providing an opportunity for us to ponder and work out a roadmap for the development of the Confucius Institutes in the region. I would like to use four letters of “NICE” to offer my suggestion.

First, Number. Quantity matters. In order to meet the increasing requirements of learning Chinese language and culture, Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classes should be introduced to some other friendly countries in the region to enhance the understanding and friendship between China and the Caribbean countries.

Second, Integration. To make the Confucius Institutes more successful, they should merge into the development strategy of their resident campuses, continue to make outreach in the society to benefit more people and meet the increasing learning demand from the local partners who are involved in China-Caribbean exchanges and cooperation.

Third, Combination. It is encouraging that the Caribbean Examination Council decided to introduce Chinese as a CSEC optional subject for regional secondary schools. Assistance should be provided to CXC in working out the syllabus, and making it link up with the Confucius Institute’s teaching program so that the local students could have a better study effect.

Fourth, Expansion. In the medium and long term, Confucius Institutes should play a good role as incubators so that the collaborative universities of China and Caribbean could further engaged in their academic exchange and researches, and the possibility to set up Centres for Chinese Studies should also be explored.

Dear friends, May 30th hallmarks the 40th anniversary of China-Barbados diplomatic ties. Today’s ceremony adds festive and joyous atmosphere to the celebrations. Barbados remains one of the very first Caribbean countries that established diplomatic ties with China. For 40 years, China-Barbados relations have enjoyed healthy and steady development. In recent years, new breakthroughs and strides have been achieved, significantly contributing to China-Caribbean relations. Taking the 40th anniversary as a new departure, China remains committed to join the effort of Barbados to enhance our cooperation in all fields and bring China-Barbados relations into new heights.

To conclude, once again, I congratulate the Confucius Institute at U.W.I. Cave Hill Campus for your new office, and wish the First Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in the Caribbean and the Cave Hill Campus “China Week” great success.

I thank you all!

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