Xinhua/Want China Times
The Confucius Institute, a Chinese institute for promoting Chinese language, has been inaugurated at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia’s capital.
The inaugural ceremony took place on Monday on the premises of Addis Ababa University (AAU) in the presence of officials and representatives of AAU and the Ethiopian Ministry of Education as well as Chinese diplomats and students of AAU.
The inaugural ceremony featured different activities including a Chinese and Ethiopian traditional costume show, Chinese folk dances, and cultural dances of the two countries.
In their remarks about the occasion, speakers said that the opening of a Confucius Institute at AAU would provide opportunity for young Ethiopians to learn the Chinese language and gain future benefits, take part in cultural exchanges, and draw upon the rich experiences of the Chinese.
AAU and Tianjin University of Technology and Education established an academic and research partnership in 2011, and AAU opened the Chinese language teaching center same year in November.
In 2012, AAU also launched a Chinese language BA degree program, with 11 of the original 14 registered students studying in Tianjin University of Technology and Education (TUTE) with the support of Confucius scholarships, according to Admasu Tsegaye, AAU president.
Tsegaye said that during Chinese vice premier Liu Yandong’s visit to Ethiopia in 2013, AAU and Confucius Institute Headquarters in China signed an agreement to upgrade the Chinese language teaching center at AAU to a Confucius Institute.
In the recruitment of new degree students in Chinese language programs this year, the number of students who selected Chinese as their major reached 52, ranking the second in all the language programs at the University, the president said.
He said AAU had a keen interest in scaling up partnerships with Chinese universities in areas of science and technology.
“By extending our partnerships to the areas of science and technology education and research partnerships with Chinese universities in the areas of science and technology, we will have mutual benefits that will contribute to the development of both countries,” he said.
Yan Bing, vice president of TUTE, stated that his university has forged partnerships with different universities in Africa including Ethiopia’s AAU.
Chinese is being taught at the three Ethiopian universities of AAU, Mekelle University, and Hawassa University in BA degree and certificate programs.
The opening of a Confucius Institute in Ethiopia is an indicator of the growing economic and social ties between Ethiopia and China, said Samuel Kifle, general director for higher education administrative affairs at the Ethiopian Ministry of Education. Since the Confucius Institute at AAU would be the second one in Ethiopia, Samuel said that it would enhance the capacity of Ethiopia’s universities to teach the Chinese language at different levels.
“The Ministry of Education will continue to support partnering universities in the effort to expand the Confucius Institute in Ethiopia,” he said.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Xie Xiaoyan, Chinese ambassador to Ethiopia, revealed that AAU has forged cooperation with more than 10 Chinese universities for research and teaching exchanges.
The ambassador recalled the openings of a Chinese language BA program at AAU two years ago and Amharic language course in a Chinese university last year.
Xie highlighted the role of such moves regarding languages in facilitating understanding and communication between the two peoples as well as in further strengthening friendship between the two countries.