Confucius Institute at Brock
Published: Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Updated: Thursday, July 5, 2012 15:07
May 15 marked the grand opening of the new Confucius Institute at Brock University. This new institute, one of only three in Ontario and seven across Canada, will provide formal certification and continuing education for Mandarin language instructors in the Niagara region and the rest of southern Ontario. Brock has been offering Mandarin language credit courses since 1989.
To celebrate the grand opening, festivities such as the Lion Dance, Chinese Gong Fu, the Peacock Dance and a traditional Chinese instrument ensemble performances were held at the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre at Brock. A Fujian Lacquer art exhibit by renowned artist Wang Tianliang was also hosted in the theatre's gallery.
On May 30, Tianliang, Dean and Professor of the Arts Department at Minjiang University, was also the first speaker in Brock's ongoing Confucius Institute (CI) Speaker Series.
Besides providing Chinese language education, the CI at Brock will also promote Chinese culture and relations, said Brock Associate Professor Cheng Luo, Department of Applied Linguistics, who is also a Co-Director of the institute.
"The Confucius Institute at Brock University aims to facilitate Chinese language instruction, enhance understanding of Chinese culture, enhance international relations and promote multiculturalism under the general guidance of Brock University's mission statement," said Luo.
The institute is located at the International Centre, and is complete with a two-metre tall statue of Confucius located just outside. The statue was a gift from one of Brock's partner schools, Minjiang University, located in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China, which has been Brock's collaborator in the venture.
The institute represents the determination of both of these schools to not only educate others in the Chinese language, but to also increase the recognition, understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture in the community. Worldwide, the institutes represent the growing cooperation and friendship between China and the rest of the world, as countries who host these institutes look to strengthen their relationships and cultural collaboration with China.
The CI will organize or be involved in activities and events, like the development of a training course for Chinese language instructors and a credit course in Chinese culture, as well as hosting lectures on Chinese culture, exchange programs and visiting delegations from China, cultural exhibitions, conferences and celebrations of cultural festivities.
All of these activities will benefit Brock, but according to Luo, the institute will also do good for the community.
"The surrounding community will benefit from the CI in terms of its cooperation in organizing cultural events, in promoting and assisting in establishing Confucius Classrooms in school boards where Chinese is taught and learned, in offering training sessions to the hospitality industry and offering translation and cultural consultation services to the local communities," he said.
The idea for these institutes came about as China's economy and exchanges with foreign countries began to grow, leading to an increase in the demand for Chinese education. After countries like Spain, France and Germany experienced success in promoting their national languages, China began to look into doing the same in 2004, by opening non-profit institutions aimed at educating foreign countries in Chinese language and culture. These institutions were called Confucius Institutes.
The CI at Brock has been in the works for some time. About two years ago, Brock brought together University staff from across several different faculties to help organize the effort to bring an institute to Brock. The idea became a reality when Brock and Minjiang University's joint application for funding from the Chinese Language Council International was successful.
For more information, please visitbrocku.ca/confucius-institute