Professor Rajesh Chandra and his wife Dharma with staff, graduates and their families.
A total of eighty (80) students graduated from The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Confucius Institute’s (CI) social classes on 9 November 2018.
Of this number, 37 graduated from Beginner levels, 27 from Intermediate, 6 from Advanced and 10 from the Children’s class.
Dr Akanisi Kedrayate, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) congratulated the graduates for their hard work and efforts in learning the Chinese language and culture, considering that Chinese is now becoming an international language.
As part of the ceremony, CI-USP paid tribute to Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President, who was instrumental for its set-up.
Dean Kedrayate said Professor Chandra has been behind most of the successes of the University during his tenure and the establishment of CI-USP is one of them.
“We can be proud that the opportunity has been offered to all our people in the region to learn one of the core international languages in the world,” she said.
Ms Joan Yee, CI-USP Local Director said the idea of a Confucius Institute at USP was first mooted at a USP Council meeting by the Forum Secretariat representative in 2006 and discussed at Senate.
She noted that both the Council and Senate were initially not keen on the idea as they felt that USP should focus on Pacific languages and were concerned about funding for the Institute.
“However, Professor Chandra recognised the long-term opportunities and benefits of having a Confucius Institute at USP and, after consulting with others at USP, decided to express an interest in it to the Chinese Ambassador, “ said Ms Yee.
“The USP Council eventually came around to the idea and formally approved the establishment of the Confucius Institute in November 2010. I am sure that Professor Chandra played a major role in convincing the Council to make this decision,” she said.
Ms Yee said CI-USP began operations in 2012 and Professor Chandra, with the strong support of Dr Kedrayate, took a keen hands-on interest in the development and construction of the CI-USP.
She added that with Professor Chandra’s support, the CI-USP has been included in the general development planning of USP.
“He strongly supported our work in the region and was always willing to help us liaise with USP staff & officials in regional countries,” she added.
CI-USP also acknowledged the support of Professor Chandra’s wife Dharma, who has been a CI-USP student since the beginning & is one of the most loyal students.
Professor Chandra also heartily congratulated the graduates saying Chinese is not an easy language to learn and commended the teachers for their dedication and hard work.
He reciprocated CI-USP’s acknowledgement saying that the journey had been a wonderful one and paid special tribute to Dr Kedrayate, Professor Li, Dr Yang and Ms Yee.
“A Vice-Chancellor can only initiate certain things but the work is done by other people and I do want to say how truly grateful I am for all they have done,” he said.
“CI-USP is very special to us and we have been touched always by the warmth shown to us and it has been a wonderful journey.
“Overlaying all of that is the relationship between China and the Pacific and that is a very important relationship,” he said.
Established between USP and the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT), CI-USP became fully operational in 2012. It provides different levels of credit courses (LL181, LL281, LL381, and LL382) and in order to meet different demands from individuals, businesses, schools, government departments and NGOs, the CI-USP offers a variety of social courses.
CI-USP is committed to providing Chinese language and cultural teaching resources and services and offers the Confucius Institute Scholarship, recommending excellent students for the Chinese government scholarships. It has acted as a bridge for visiting Research and Academic staff and other important visitors from China, who come to USP and Fiji.
Since 2012, more than 4,000 students have graduated from CI-USP, and more than 100 cultural activities were held. Some of its cultural activities have become a cultural brand at USP like the Confucius Day and Spring Festival.
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