Fiji’s President officiates at CI-USP groundbreaking project
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His Excellency The President of Fiji and Chancellor of USP Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote officiating at the ground-breaking ceremony at CI-USP.
His Excellency The President of Fiji and Chancellor of The University of the South Pacific (USP) Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony of the model Confucius Institute-USP project at the Laucala Campus on 13 October, 2017.
In welcoming His Excellency Jioji Konrote, Professor Rajesh Chandra Vice-Chancellor and President of USP acknowledged his presence and thanked him for taking time out of his busy schedule to attend the event, which he said represented one of the most significant achievements of CI.
Professor Rajesh Chandra Vice-Chancellor and President of USP and His Excellency Mr Zhang Ping, Chinese Ambassador to Fiji at the ground-breaking ceremony.
“CI-USP won a competition among all the Confucius Insitutes in the world to be supported to become a Model CI with a grant of F$3 million.
“Today we are celebrating the beginning of the extension and renovation of the facilities for the CI-USP through this Model CI project,” he remarked.
This project is jointly undertaken by Hanban, the Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing, and USP.
Professor Chandra said, “we are deeply honoured and grateful to Hanban for providing a very large grant to enable us to undertake this project to create a Model CI at USP”.
This he said, is a tangible recognition by Hanban of the successes achieved by the CI-USP and demonstrates Hanban’s confidence in the CI-USP.
H.E Konrote congratulated CI-USP saying he was deeply honoured to join USP in the groundbreaking ceremony of one of the many projects supported by the People’s Republic of China.
“China as you know, is a very important strategic partner for Fiji and in fact, at a meeting with His Excellency the Ambassador yesterday, I highlighted that the China and Fiji relations has grown stronger at all levels of engagement - from diplomatic relations in trade and economics, bilateral relations in multiple sectors and more importantly our people to people relations,” H.E Konrote said.
“The learning and teaching of the Chinese language and culture is crucial and is seen as one of the main tools for development. Effective communication is key to increasing our understanding of each other and learning each other’s culture will lead to better appreciation of each other’s cultures and traditions,” he remarked.
H.E Konrote highlighted that “it is therefore very pleasing that CI-USP has been established with this reason in mind. I am aware that the CI-USP has been very successful since it was established five years ago and there has been an increasing number of students in the language and cultural programmes”.
“The fact that CI-USP has brought us the opportunity to learn right at our doorsteps is very encouraging,” he noted.
Ambassador Zhang Ping, Chinese Ambassador to Fiji, noted that the ceremony marked an important milestone in the course of development of the Confucius Institute saying it is a testament of the remarkable accomplishments that CI-USP has achieved over the last five years since its founding.
“Over the last five years, the Institute has not only offered Chinese language courses and training to local students and staff members of both the public and private sectors, but also extended Chinese language teaching to other USP campuses, making Chinese language and culture courses available in USP’s curriculum,” he remarked.
Congratulating CI-USP and the University, he stated that without the hard work of its staff the Institute would not be able to achieve what it has achieved today.
Ms REN Chunxia, Director of International Office, Beijing University of Posts & Telecommunications (BUPT), on behalf of Professor Qiao Jianyong, President, BUPT said the groundbreaking demonstrated the milestone of CI-USP’s construction and development.
“It marks not only the improvement of the teaching condition but also a symbol of achievement on culture, teaching and exchange between BUPT and USP in the past five years,” she said.
She acknowledged Professor Chandra, Ambassador Zhang Ping, Dr Akanisi Kedrayate, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) and teachers and volunteers of CI-USP for their commitment and energetically support CI-USP over the years.
She added the groundbreaking ceremony signified that CI-USP has gone through five years of early stages and is stepping forward to a new development stage.
“CI-USP will step onto a new high for Chinese teaching and cultural exchange, and make greater contributions to the friendly relationship between BUPT and USP,” she added.
The CI-USP has received support from Hanban to be developed as a Model Confucius Institute and through this initiative, the current premises will be extended and renovated to provide state-of-the-art facilities for the activities of CI-USP.
This is a major grant of approximately $F3 million.
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