More than 50,000 people have enjoyed Chinese cultural events in Leicestershire since the launch of the Confucius Institute at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) five years ago.
From Chinese New Year events in the city to free Tai Chi at Leicester Market and Mandarin language classes, the Confucius Institute (CI) has made it its mission to share arts, culture and learning with the community.
This week it celebrated its five-year anniversary with performances of traditional dance, music and arts as well as meetings to explore new research and study opportunities for academics and students at DMU.
The CI is run in partnership with the University of Science and Technology Beijing (USTB). The Vice-Chancellor of USTB, Quan Liangzhu, led a delegation from Beijing and Yongli Wang, Minister Counsellor (Education) of the Chinese Embassy, spoke at the event. Partner CIs from around the UK attended along with Chinese students studying at DMU.
Mr Wang praised the work of the CI, which last year taught 3,745 students Mandarin. UK students are offered the opportunity to study at a summer school in Beijing. CI teachers also work in primary and secondary schools across Leicestershire where children can take the Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK).
He said: "The CI programme is a joint cooperative programme between China and foreign countries. They have been a window for foreign friends to learn about China. The Cis operate on a principle of shared benefits, this is a unique model and we are very pleased to see the close collaboration between DMU and USTB.
“We are looking forward to the continued co-operation between the two universities and the future achievements in our golden era between China and the UK."
Dr Yingjun Yang, who is the new director of the CI, said it was a "red letter day" for the Confucius Institute team. He said: “We remain true to our mission to meet the needs of Chinese learners to the utmost degree and to contribute to the cultural diversity and social harmony of the city."
Professor Andy Collop, interim Vice-Chancellor, paid tribute to the work of the three directors who have led DMU CI since its opening, Professor Pong, Professor Yaming Liu and Professor Yingjun Yang, who took up post last month.
Steve Chuanpu Wang (24), third-year undergraduate student, studying Performing Arts. Wants to study his Master’s here too (also in Performing Arts). He said: “DMU has got a very good reputation in China - everyone knows that the arts courses are very good here. The thing I like most about DMU is the freedom we are given to learn at our own pace and explore new opportunities.
“I’m currently writing my dissertation which is looking at different cultures and the different physical movements they use to express themselves in the performing arts. I’ve worked with the Confucius Institute a number of times since I started studying at DMU. I get involved in directing the performances by other students.
“I would definitely recommend DMU to other international students - coming to a different country to study has really helped me develop my skills.”
Joanna Shen (22), third-year undergraduate student, is studying Accounting and Finance. She said: “I love the atmosphere at DMU. The staff are so enthusiastic and there are so many opportunities to enhance your education here. The Confucius Institute is a good example of that.
“Making foreign friends has been really good for me too, I think it’s always good to learn about other cultures.”
Posted on Thursday 21st March 2019