Last Thursday, the UCL IOE Confucius Institute was honoured to host the Confucius Institute and Confucius Classroom Conferences, opened by H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China and attended by Mandarin education experts from around the United Kingdom.
The conferences’ Opening Ceremony saw President Xi Jinping and Prince Andrew the Duke of York as the honoured guests, with the President delivering a speech thanking all the UK Confucius Institutes, as well as stating that language is the best key to understanding a country. The Duke of York echoed these words and said he believes “if you learn a language, you’re worth two people.”
UCL Provost Michael Arthur furthered this concept of global engagement by saying that “the work being undertaken by all Confucius Institutes is a crucial part of Britain’s engagement in an inter-connected world.” The UCL Institute of Education Director, Chris Husbands, developed this idea in relation to our work in schools, stating that the “principal responsibility of adults in this generation is to ensure that the young are equipped to genuinely communicate with each other and understand each other”.
The Opening Ceremony finished with President Xi Jinping and Prince Andrew officially opening the Confucius Classrom at Hautlieu School, Jersey, marking a thousand Confucius Classrooms in the UK.
The conferences continued at Senate House where attendees were treated to performances from Robin Hood Academy, Rosendale Primary School and Douglas Academy, as well as an impressive exhibition of posters designed by UK Confucius Classrooms and Institutes.
After a joint plenary and keynote speeches from all four nations and Madam Xu Lin, Director-General of Hanban and Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarter, the Confucius Classroom and Confucius Institute attendees divided into separate conferences. The Confucius Classrooms held breakout sessions on a range of topics from ‘Chinese teaching and assessments’ to ‘2016 Confucius Classrooms Development Plans’. Madam Xu Lin then closed their Conference by thanking everyone for all their hard work and continued determination.
The Confucius Institute Conference, divided into breakout sessions where strategy was discussed at length alongside plans for the Confucius China Studies Programme. The conference continued on Friday morning at the main Institute building, where further strategy was discussed, focusing on teacher training and the work plan for 2016. Madam Xu Lin closed the Confucius Institute Conference with a speech that reflected on the tremendeous successes and the innovative ideas of the previous two days.