The 2023 Training Workshop for Foreign Directors of Confucius Institutes and Classrooms in China
On July 4th, the 2023 Training Workshop for Foreign Directors of Confucius Institutes (CI) began in Shanghai. It is sponsored by the Chinese International Education Foundation (CIEF) and organized by East China Normal University. A total of 27 CI foreign directors and heads of Confucius Institutes and Classrooms from 25 countries, including the representative from Tourism Confucius Classroom at University of Donja Gorica participated in a nine-day training workshop.
Zhao Lingshan, vice president and secretary-general of CIEF, attended the opening ceremony and delivered a speech, warmly welcoming the directors who gathered in China for the first time since the pandemic. He expressed sincere respect and best wishes to all foreign directors who have been steadfastly working despite the challenges of the severe pandemic that have included the absence of Chinese personnel. He then outlined the developmental changes within CI since the establishment of CIEF three years ago. Last but not least, he raised three expectations for the foreign directors. First, to be the leaders of CIs, working closely with Chinese directors and harnessing the resources of partner universities and regions. Second, to promote the development of CIs in the local area, expanding their connections and seeking more support from local universities and external partners. Third, to be the think tank of CIEF, providing valuable opinions and suggestions for the continuous development of CIs.
Zhang Junli, vice secretary-general of CIEF, gave a special report entitled “The Inheritance and Development of the Confucius Institute.” She systematically introduced the responsibilities and key projects of CIEF as well as the developmental process of CI. She also provided suggestions for promoting the development of CI under the new mechanism and advised the foreign directors about how to fulfill their roles more effectively.
The opening ceremony was presided over by Gu Hongliang, vice president of East China Normal University, and President Qian Xuhong attended and delivered a welcome speech. Through special lectures, thematic discussions, field trips, and cultural experiences, this training workshop enabled foreign directors to have a deeper understanding of the charm and cultural connotations of the Chinese language. It also allowed them to experience firsthand the achievements and current status of China’s economy, education, and technology. Finally, the training program further stimulated their sense of identification with the cause of CI, thereby contributing to the promotion of cultural exchanges between China and foreign countries.
During the 9-day workshop, CIEF invited Chinese and foreign experts to give lectures on Chinese philosophy, economy, culture, media, and other fields for the CI directors. They also traveled to iFLYTEK to gain an appreciation for the company’s research and development in AI products; toured the historical and cultural city of Suzhou; and experienced China’s health-preserving exercise Qigong, acupuncture in traditional Chinese medicine, and tea culture. At the workshop, the directors conducted in-depth discussions around the positioning and development of CI, improvement of teaching quality at CI, and other topics.
The CI directors praised the workshop for directly unveiling China’s achievements in its economy, culture, and technology; shedding light on CI’s development trends and brand management mechanisms; and further enhancing the directors’ determination and confidence in CI’s successful operation. At the completion ceremony, CI directors from Asia, Africa, Europe, and America pointed out in their speeches that the workshop provided precious learning opportunities as a first-rate platform for deepening understanding and mutual trust, drawing on CI’s wealth of management experience. They emphasized that every CI director could serve as a bridge and contribute to CI’s development, cultural exchanges, and mutual learning between Chinese and other global civilizations. The directors expressed their desire for more future opportunities for communication and cooperation between CIs and with CIEF.
Zhang Junli, deputy secretary-general of CIEF, stressed that CI’s sustainable development and brand building entail the teamwork of Chinese and foreign directors and partner institutions, as well as the friendly support of all sectors of society. She called for joint efforts to create an optimum ecology for solidifying and widening the “golden bridge” of CI for people-to-people exchanges between China and other countries.
The workshop is the first of its type in China for foreign CI directors since the establishment of CIEF. In the future, a number of foreign CI directors will be invited to China every year for training and study so as to continuously promote CI’s operation and management capacities.