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Kenya hosts first-ever joint conference of Confucius Institutes in Africa

Conference aimed at promoting localization, development, collaboration, and innovation of African Confucius Institutes.

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Kenya is hosting the 2024 Joint Conference of Confucius Institutes in Africa, a three-day event that kicked off Thursday in the capital, Nairobi.

The forum, the first ever in Africa, is aimed at promoting localization, development, collaboration, and innovation of African Confucius Institutes.

The conference is jointly hosted by the Chinese International Education Foundation, the University of Nairobi, and the Confucius Institute at the University of Nairobi.

More than 100 representatives from various Confucius Institutes and independent Confucius Classrooms in Africa are attending the conference.

During the opening ceremony, the Principal Secretary for Parliamentary Affairs in the Office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary Aurelia Rono noted that the Confucius Institutes play a vital role in fostering cultural exchange and educational collaboration between China and Kenya.

“Through programs in Mandarin language and Chinese culture, they enrich our educational landscape and contribute to the development of human resources,” she said

She said breaching cultural and language barriers helps lay the foundation for building confidence amongst groups, promoting closer cooperation, and sharing best practices.

“China, with its rich history and unique development model rooted in the cultural revolution has been a profound source of inspiration for Africa. The insights and experiences gained from China’s development journey hold valuable lessons for our continent.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nairobi Prof. Stephen Kiama noted that the joint conference signifies commitment by China and Kenya to dismantle cultural and language barriers to international integration and interaction creating a globalized world of boundless opportunities. He further described the Conference as an innovative approach to international partnership and collaboration.

He said the Confucius Institute at the University of Nairobi, created in partnership with Tianjin Normal University of China, has been impactful in promoting cultural exchanges between Kenya and China.

“This is a center of excellence that plays a pivotal role in our internationalization efforts fostering cross-cultural activities that are essential in creating a world of mutual respect and shared prosperity,” said the Vice Chancellor

Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Zhou Pinjian noted that educational exchanges provide an avenue for building a strong China-Africa community with a shared future. According to Zhou, Confucius Institutes, though a creation of China, belong to all communities of the world.

Prof. Yang Wei, the President of the Chinese International Education Foundation said the African Confucius Institutes could contribute to better China-Africa friendship and promote the building of the China-Africa community with a shared destiny.

As per the aspirations of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Yang said China is ready to work with African friends to promote and carry forward the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation from generation to generation.

“This is the most important guideline for us to continue to secure the sound cooperation of Confucius Institutes and classrooms. Let us join hands to reinforce exchanges and renew the future,” he said

Since 2005, four Confucius Institutes have been established at the University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, Egerton University, and Moi University, and over the years thousands of students have enrolled to pursue studies in Chinese language and culture. The institutes have also ensured academic collaborations between China and Kenya have flourished

The Confucius Institute at the University of Nairobi has offered free training to over 22,000 Kenyans from diverse backgrounds on Chinese language and culture since its establishment. At the same time, over 400 Kenyans have benefited from the Chinese government scholarships awarded through the institute.

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