Overseas Education College of Xiamen University

XMU Leaders Attended a Video Meeting with the President of Saint Mary’s University and the Annual Board Meeting of the Confucius Institute

On 23 March, at the invitation of Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray, President of St. Mary's University(SMU), President Zhang Rong and Vice President Yang Bin attended the video meeting between the two universities and the annual board meeting of the Confucius Institute.

Yu Hongbo, Executive Director of Office of Overseas Campus Affairs and Deputy Director of Office of International Cooperation and Exchange; Bai Yuntao, Associate Dean of the School of Management at XMU; and John (Shuxue) Zhang, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute at SMU, attended the meeting. Malcolm Butler, Vice President of SMU, Miyuki Arai, Executive Director of International Activities, and Eric Henry, Canadian Director of the Confucius Institute, also attended the meeting online. The meeting was presided by Chen Zhiwei, Dean of the Chinese International Education College and Overseas Education College.

During the meeting, President Zhang Rong said that XMU, with “collaborating with all sides” as an essential strategy, has always adhered to being receptive and inclusive in its century-long development and has been open-minded in its efforts to bring together the East and the West for the benefit of the world as a whole. The two universities have cooperated in building an MBA education centre, jointly recruiting and training MBA postgraduates since the 1980s. In 2010, XMU and SMU signed an agreement to establish a Confucius Institute which is the first Confucius Institute co-established by XMU and a Canadian university. He pointed out that universities, as beacons of civilization, are the practitioners of inheriting, spreading and innovating human civilization, and are the promoters of exchange and mutual learning between cultures among countries. XMU will continue to support the construction and development of the Confucius Institute at SMU, and promote deeper cooperation between the two parties, contributing to the exchange and mutual learning.

President Murray thanked President Zhang Rong for the importance he attached to the mutual cooperation. SMU has always maintained a friendly relationship with XMU under the motto of “world without limits”. The establishment of the Confucius Institute serves as an important channel to stabilise and consolidate that relationship. In addition, Nova Scotia, where SMU is located, is a sister province to Fujian Province. Thanks to this friendship, President Murray believed that the Confucius Institute will continue to fulfil its mission of promoting people-to-people contact. By injecting what is positive into Sino-Canadian relations, it will help promote practical cooperation between the two universities in international education and exchanges among students and faculties. After the speeches, both sides expressed their hope to boost the cooperation to a new level through relevant activities on the 40th anniversary of the partnership next year and the provincial and municipal cooperation platforms.

In the second phase of the meeting, both parties listened to a report on the work of the Confucius Institute presented by the Chinese Director Zhang Shuxue. Although the work in 2020-2021 has been affected by the pandemic, the CI has still yielded new results in exploring the “Chinese language plus vocational skills” model and promoting cultural programmes such as the Chinese Medicine Festival in Canada and the Halifax China Festival.

After the presentation, both sides commented on the work of the Confucius Institute. Vice President Yang Bin expressed his appreciation of the work and hoped to put forward cooperation with the Sobey School of Business and the Canadian College of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in order to cultivate talents who understand contemporary China and have Chinese language skills by exerting the characteristics of these schools. At the same time, the work of the Confucius Institute will be more systematic, structured and scientific by establishing and improving the teaching and evaluation mechanism. President Murray and Vice President Butler fully agreed to what had been proposed. They said they would continue to support the integration of the Confucius Institute into the University’s disciplinary system and local community and enhance the level of Chinese language talent training while focusing on the results of Chinese language teaching.

Since signing a university-level agreement in 1983, XMU and SMU have witnessed frequent and intensive exchanges and cooperation. As an important platform for collaboration, the Confucius Institute actively promotes cultural and educational exchanges at provincial, municipal, and even national levels.

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