Confucius Institute Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary
By Mariah Klair Castillo
Mr. Chang Quansheng, Education Consul & Mr. Cheng Lei Deputy Consul General Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China In New York
The Confucius Institute celebrated its 10th anniversary. HanBan, created the Confucius Institute in collaboration with the Chinese government, to promote Chinese culture and language on a global scale. After ten years, there are over 450 Confucius Institutes and around 700 Confucius Classrooms around the world. In New York City, the five Confucius Institutes collaborated to host a full day of celebrating the milestone. The opening ceremony was held at the SUNY Global Center and hosted by the Confucius Institute for Business (CIB) at SUNY.
In her opening speech, Dr. Maryalice Mazzara, the American Director of SUNY CIB, talked about the mission of Confucius Institute, which is to “promote understanding through Chinese language study, cultural programs and events, and the establishment of positive relationships” between China and the United States. She noted how this was especially important in New York City, stating that the Confucius Institutes have allowed students to grow closer to members of the community.
Sally Crimmins Villela, the Assistant SUNY Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs talked about the impact of the Confucius Institutes on a global scale, saying the Confucius Institutes “truly embody the spirit of public diplomacy.”
She added, “We know that nations are less likely to wage war on one another when they have significant cultural, personal, and economic ties. We know these ties are formed through higher education.”
Cheng Lei, the Deputy Consulate General of China in New York City, echoed Villela’s sentiments. He read a letter from the Consulate General, which said, “It is my sincere hope that those Chinese-American scholars can make full use of this platform for the sake of exchanging ideas and learning from each other so that the future emanations of those fine Chinese and American culture can bring benefits to mankind.” Lei also stated that, “The Chinese Consulate General in New York City is ready to exert all its efforts to support Confucius Institute’s for the sake of improving mutual understanding and friendship between two great nations and two great peoples.”
Shenzhan Liao, Director of Education at the China Institute, read a letter from Carmen Fariña, the Chancellor of Education, which discussed the impact of the Confucius Institutes in New York City. Fariña wrote that the five Confucius Institutes “have provided wonderful platforms that made the teaching and learning of Chinese language and culture more accessible for the city’s students, educators, and all the city’s residents.”
Following the speeches made by representatives of the five Confucius Institutes in the City discussing their specific programs and impacts on the community, Dr. Mazzara then talked about the events celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Confucius Institute taking place throughout the day. The festivities mark ten successful years of promoting Chinese culture around the world through the Confucius Institute, with many more to come.#