Inauguration Ceremony of the New Chinese Language Teaching Spot at Overseas Chinese Service Centre
The Confucius Institute at the University of Colombo (CIUC) successfully held the inauguration ceremony of the new teaching spot at the Overseas Chinese Service Centre in Sri Lanka on April 17, 2023. His Excellency Mr. Qi Zhenhong, Ambassador of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka, Senior Professor H.D. Karunaratne, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo and Mr. Zhang Xudong, the former President of the Sri Lanka Overseas Chinese Association attended the ceremony and delivered speeches. Jin Qian, Counselor and Wang Keqi, Consul of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka, Professor Ma Zhongwu, the Chinese Director-CIUC, and Dr. Anuththaradevi Widyalankara, the Sri Lankan Director – CIUC, Cai Zhixin, Director , Overseas Chinese Service Centre were also among the distinguished participants of the event.
Mr. Zhang Xudong, former President of the Chinese Association warmly welcomed the guests. While expressing his gratitude over to the participants from the Embassy. Mr. Zhang Xudong made a briefing about the history of the Overseas Chinese Service Centre. He particularly mentioned that since its inception in 2017 it has received strong support from the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. It has been committed to helping Chinese students study in Sri Lanka, but their teaching was affected due to the lack of teachers and because of the COVID situation in Sri Lanka.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo, Senior Professor H.D. Karunaratne mentioned in his speech that diplomatic relations between China and Sri Lanka has a long history and they are in collaborative relations for nearly 65 years. Based on his recent visit to Beijing and through his personal experience, he emphasized the importance of learning a second language and necessity to have more joint educational programmes between the University of Colombo and universities in China. Believing that culture as a mode of learning multiple languages would help to know and tend to respect each other. He positively believes that one day the children in the Chinese Class at the Overseas Chinese Service Center would take opportunities to enter into the University of Colombo and experience the excellent education culture in varies field of studies.
The Ambassador of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mr. Qi Zhenhong, said that there are 26 children in this Chinese class and half of them are from Chinese-Sri Lankan mixed-race families, which truly reflects the characteristics of a Chinese-Sri Lankan family. While adding the quotation “It takes ten years to grow trees, but a hundred years to cultivate people”, he mentioned both the importance of education and adhere to Chinese culture should not be forgotten, because both will help to create a ‘truly civilized man’. In the era of globalization, it is essential to strengthening cultural exchanges. Teachers have a strong responsibility in creating and strengthening China-Sri Lanka friendship and enhancing Chinese -Sri Lankan cultural understanding among the children through language. Further. His Excellency the Ambassador Mr. Qi Zhenhong positively believes that the Confucius Institute at the University of Colombo would assist in fulfilling this task and more students would join in the future to learn the language and experience the ‘dual culture’.
CIUC has been committed for years in teaching the Chinese language and introducing Chinese culture in Sri Lanka while strengthening cooperation with governmental and non-governmental institutions. In addition, CIUC always stands to consolidate the friendship between China and Sri Lanka. It is strongly expected that the establishment of this new teaching spot would definitely support in teaching the Chinese language and would join more students in the future to experience the exceptionally sound learning culture at the Centre.