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The Confucius Institute At UWI, St. Augustine Officially Launched

On Oct 23, the Confucius Institute at UWI, St Augustine Campus was officially launched. His Excellency Huang Xingyuan, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, The Honourable Winston Dookeran, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Clement Sankat, Pro Vice-Chancellor & Campus Principal, UWI, St. Augustine, Professor Ke Bingsheng, President of China Agricultural University attended the function and made speech respectively. Over 300 staff and students of UWI, leaders of local Chinese communities and companies, celebrities from all circles of Trinidad and Tobago were present.

In his welcome speech, Professor Sankat said that the establishment of the Confucius Institute would truly facilitate technical, cultural and educational exchanges between China and Trinidad and Tobago. It was a proud moment, not only here for those at UWI, St Augustine Campus, but more so for the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the region. He stressed that through the institute, the relationship with China would be strengthened by making the teaching of Chinese available to corporate and private citizens, deepening the understanding of the Chinese culture.

On behalf of the Chinese government, Ambassador Huang extended his warm congratulations to the Confucius Institute, and his sincere gratitude to the University of West Indies and China Agricultural University for their excellent work.

Ambassador Huang said that the Confucius Institute at UWI had gotten great attention from the leaders of both countries. The Chinese President Xi Jinping witnessed the signing of the agreement for establishing Confucius Institute, together with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar when he was visiting Trinidad and Tobago in this June.

Ambassador Huang noted that Confucius was a great thinker, a great teacher, a great philosopher and also the founder of the Confucian school. He is a key figure of the Chinese culture with a history of 5,000 years, and his thought has been keeping a deep and lasting influence. Confucius is a symbol of the Chinese culture; it makes perfect sense for the Institute to be named after him. The Confucius Institute’s most important contribution, to the Chinese learners around the world, would be a reliable place with authentic modern Chinese language teachers and text books. Consistent with Confucius’s thoughts of “harmony is the fundamentality” and “harmony does not demand conformity”, the Institute has been pushing forward the exchange between the Chinese culture and other cultures, aiming to promote durable peace and common prosperity in the world.

Ambassador Huang stressed, "under the effort of the two peoples and two governments, the relations between China and Trinidad and Tobago has been unprecedentedly intensified in various fields including politics, economy, education and culture. At this very moment, the official opening of Confucius Institute is another great rejoicing. I believe that, the Confucius Institute, as a people-to-people exchange platform, will not only satisfy the local demand of Mandarin learning, but also promote exchange and cooperation between our two countries to a new height."

Before ending his remark, Ambassador Huang wished the Confucius Institute at the St. Augustine Campus a flourishing and fruitful future in the land of Trinidad and Tobago with full of sunshine, rich rain and pleasant climate and contributing to well-being of the people.

Hon. Winston Dookeran, Minister of Foreign Affair spoke highly about the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius and his important philosophy in detail. He pointed out that the Confucius Institute provided both TT and the Caribbean region with a new platform of an intellectual nature, and the cultural interaction between the two countries would be given an opportunity to flourish.

On behalf of China Agricultural University, Professor Ke Bingsheng extended his warm congratulations on the official opening of the Confucius Institute at the St. Augustine Campus of UWI and expressed his sincere appreciation and gratitude to Hon. Minister Dookeran and Ambassador Huang for their presence which represented the strong support from both governments. He was confident that with enthusiastic engagement and contributions from the faculties and staffs from the two universities, they would make this Institute a great success and contributing to strengthening the friendship of the two peoples.

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