On December 7th and 8th, the 8th Global Confucius Institute Conference took place at the China National Convention Center in Beijing. Besides officials, delegates of Confucius Institutes from all over the world and representatives from Embassies, including from the Swiss Embassy were attending the opening ceremony that included speeches by Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of P.R. China and Chair of the Council of the Confucius Institute Headquarters as well as Yuan Guiren, Minister of Education and Vice Chair of the Council of the Confucius Institute Headquarters. Liu Yandong stressed the importance of the cultural exchange facilitated through Confucius Institutes for bilateral relations and talked about the success of the current 440 Confucius Institutes (CI) and 600 Confucius Classrooms. The opening ceremony was followed by different forums about best practices in teaching and administration of CI’s.
Prof. Dr. Edwin Constable, Vice-Rector of the University of Basel and Qi Zhu Ammann, Director of the Confucius Institute Basel attended the conference as well. In advance, they visited, accompanied by Nektarios Palaskas, Science and Technology Counsellor of the Swiss Embassy in Beijing, the Institute of Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) as well as the University of CAS.
The Confucius Institute at the University of Basel has just been established this year, after an agreement was signed with the partner university East China Normal University in May 2013. The development of the new CI is well in progress: In September 2013 the new Confucius Institute could move in its premises and in February 2014, just in time for the spring semester, the first Chinese courses will be offered. Other planned activities include exchange programs for tutors, joint programs for students, translation of interesting literature, reader circles and many more.