This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Confucius Institute at University of The Bahamas (CIUB) where over 1,000 Bahamian students and foreign nationals have taken Mandarin Chinese courses and been exposed to the customs and culture of China. The Institute is operated as a partnership between UB and the Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology (NUIST), one of China’s leading tertiary institutions.
“Ten years ago, we started with a Confucius Classroom, and due to its popularity, we grew to having a Confucius Institute on campus,” noted Dr. Maria Oriakhi, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, who delivered remarks on behalf of UB President Dr. Rodney D. Smith at a ceremony held Thursday, September 26th.
“Through the work of the Confucius Institute we have hosted many events to showcase Chinese culture and its diversity, and we have helped to make Mandarin available to the Bahamian public through classes at C.R. Walker High School, Doris Johnson High School, R.M. Bailey High School and St. Andrew’s High School,” she told those gathered at the Harry C. Moore Library & Information Centre, Auditorium.
In addition to providing scholarships for UB students and alumni, the Institute has also funded faculty cultural immersion in China.
CIUB is the only official Chinese proficiency test centre in The Bahamas designated by the Chinese Ministry of Education. The institute educates UB students and local communities about China’s language, culture and its society. Not only does it provide an array of Chinese language course offerings, CIUB promotes contemporary China through hosting public lectures, workshops and cultural performances.
For His Excellency Huang Qinguo, China’s Ambassador to The Bahamas, the Confucius Institute has had a decade of success and plays an important role in the “enhanced friendship and promotion of cultural exchanges between our two countries and two peoples.”
According to the ambassador, more than 100 Bahamian educators and university students have visited China since the institute’s launch in 2009. Just recently, 13 students received scholarships to advance their education in China, he revealed.
“Nowadays, the Confucius Institute is becoming more and more popular and attracting more and more young Bahamians to learn Chinese language and the Chinese culture,” Ambassador Huang noted.
Pointing to a new bilateral agreement, a protocol on the export of live lobster from The Bahamas to China, the ambassador said he expects the demand for Chinese language speakers to rise as the People’s Republic of China deepens its diplomatic ties, enhances economic and trade cooperation and increases people-to-people exchanges with The Bahamas.
“Let us work together to bring the paths of our two peoples closer, our bilateral relations closer and make the future of the two countries even better,” said the ambassador who also thanked the faculty and staff of CIUB and expressed gratitude for the support of the Bahamian government.
Professor Ma Tinghaui, NUIST’s Dean of the College of International Students, echoed similar sentiments.
“Future learning and exchanges of language and culture are important ways to enhance the communication and understanding between China and The Bahamas in order to build a harmonious relationship featuring common prosperity,” he said, through a translator. “On this basis, I hope NUIST and UB could explore cooperation in other areas.”
In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, NUIST has pledged $3,000 to assist with relief and restoration for the University of The Bahamas-North campus in Grand Bahama which was severely damaged by Hurricane Dorian.
More images from the 10th Anniversary celebration below: