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Remarks by Chinese Ambassador H.E. Mdm. Sun Baohong on the First Anniversary Celebration of Confucius Institute at the University of Cape Coast

(2nd June, 2017)

Respected Prof. George K.T. Oduro, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast,

Hon. Kwamena Duncan, Minister of the Central Region,

Respected Prof. Hu Liangcai and Prof. Kwado Opoku-Agyeman, Chinese Director and Ghanaian Director of Confucius Institute at the University of Ghana,

Distinguished guests,

Faculty members, students,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning!

It is my great pleasure to attend the first anniversary celebration of Confucius Institute at the University of Cape Coast. There is a Chinese saying, everything is hard in the beginning. In the past one year, teachers and volunteers of the Confucius Institute at UCC have overcome a number of difficulties and given sweat of hardworking to get off to a flying start. I would like to express my deep respect for your unremitting efforts. I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to the faculty members of UCC and our Ghanaian friends who are committed to China-Ghana friendship and who have rendered strong support to the smooth operation of Confucius Institute.

Confucius Institutes have traversed an extraordinary journey of 12 years. Up till now, there are 511 Confucius Institutes and 1073 Confucius Classrooms in 140 countries with 2.1 million students of all kinds. Confucius Institutes have become an important platform for exchange and mutual emulation of Chinese and other civilizations, and a window through which the world comes to know more about China and China deepens the friendship and cooperation with other countries.

Confucius Institute at UCC is said to be the 500th Confucius Institute around the world and the second in Ghana. Yet, I keep with myself letters requesting for setting up Confucius Institute from vice-chancellors of several Ghanaian universities.

Perhaps it is time to answer one question, what is the reason that Confucius Institutes are becoming increasingly popular and influential in this society?

First of all, it undoubtedly attributes to the charm of Chinese culture. Confucius Institute is the place where people learn Chinese language and understand Chinese culture. The Chinese civilization traversed for thousands of years, and yielded large quantities of cultural treasures with broad and profound essence. There’s a province called Shaanxi in China. The number of cultural relics displayed in the museums in this province reaches nearly 8 million. Today I brought here a birthday gift, called double-faced embroidery. This embroidery technology was developed a thousand years ago in China. You can see the splendor of Chinese culture through this piece of works. What’s more, there are lots of ideas and moral norms originated from Chinese traditional culture, values of which never fade away. For example, the Chinese leaders often make full use of the sayings from our ancient wisdom and instruct the Chinese civil servants to acquire political ambitions such as Be the first to worry the woes of the people, and the last to share the weal of the people; to follow your heart of patriotism such as whatever my social status, I will never lay aside my concern for the nation, to obtain the awe-inspiring righteousness such as Never be corrupted by wealth and status, Never depart from principle due to poverty or humble position, Never bow down to power or coercion, and to have the spirit of dedication such as Everyone will one day die; when my day comes, may my loyalty to the country be inscribed into history. The Chinese nation has developed the human-oriented concept of loving all creatures as if they are your kind and all people as if they are your brothers, the political concept of governing with both virtue and rule of law, the peaceful approach of love, non-offense and good-neighborliness, the idea of peace being of paramount importance and harmony without uniformity as well as personal conduct to treat others in a way that you would like to be treated and help others succeed if you want to succeed yourself. These traditional values with a unique oriental touch provide endless source of invaluable cultural assets to the theory and practice of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.

Second, it attributes to the comprehensive national strength of China. The increasing influence of Chinese culture is indispensable with China’s rapid economic development. As Chairman Mao Zedong’s poem goes, Nanjing City, getting rid of the old ruler, outshines its ancient glories; In heroic triumph heaven and earth have been overturned. After reform and opening-up for over 30 years, China has become the second largest economy in the world and the main driving force for the world economy, contributing 30% annually to the world economy. China is leading global governance by contributing Chinese wisdom and Chinese proposals. The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was concluded in Beijing half a month ago with abundant results. Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out in his remarks that China will insist on jointly building through consultation to meet the interests of all, aiming at policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people-to-people connectivity. China will work together with other countries to build the Belt and Road into a road of peace, prosperity, opening up, innovation, and civilization. This caused active response from all parties. China signed dozens of cooperation agreements with countries and international organizations during the Forum, which outlined the road map for the success of the Belt and Road Initiative and pointed a clear way for future cooperation. China brought up many new measures to build synergies in development strategies and policies, promote the construction of economic corridor, enhance major projects cooperation and enlarge financial support. This shows China’s responsibility. This sends out the strongest voice of the times.

Third, it attributes to the vigor of China-Ghana relations. Ghana is the second sub-Saharan African country to establish diplomatic relations with China. After 56 years, our relations have grown from strength to strength and our cooperation in all areas has obtained significant success, bringing real benefits to our two peoples. Ghana is an important partner to China on the African continent. Our bilateral trade volume and China’s investment in Ghana rank among the forefront throughout Africa. Now the Chinese side is working with the new Ghanaian government to strengthen collaboration, enhance communication and exchanges on governance, and scale up planning on priority projects of future cooperation. In the meanwhile, China and Ghana share vibrant exchanges on culture. Our cooperation in the area of culture, education, sports, tourism, press, think tanks, youth and women is ever increasing and mutual understanding has been deepened. More and more Ghanaian friends love learning Chinese and go to China for study or business. The University of Ghana will set up its master program of Chinese language teaching soon, which will be a breakthrough in Africa and of great importance for Ghana to conduct Chinese language teaching in the future. The key to sound relations between countries lies in the affinity between their peoples, which largely stems from mutual understanding. A Chinese ancient philosopher once said, Visit those who you feel close to even without meeting them before, and invite those you cannot forget long after your paths crossed. I think this is a perfect definition of exchange between UCC and Hunan City University.

Faculty members, students, ladies and gentlemen,

In modern times, all countries are growing into a community of common interests and common destiny for all mankind. The megatrend of mutually enriching cultural exchanges and win-win cooperation between China and the world bring historical opportunities and broad space for the development of Confucius Institutes.

Human beings have a history of civilization for thousands of years. Each country and each nation become what they are by inheriting the past and forging the future, and the world becomes what it is by integration of diversified civilizations. We explore wisdom and absorb nutrients from different civilizations to find inner peace and spiritual handhold, and work hand in hand to deal with challenges that all mankind is facing. In March 2014 at UNESCO headquarters, Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out in his remarks that Civilizations have become richer and more colorful with exchanges and mutual learning. Such exchanges and mutual learning form an important drive for human progress and global peace and development. Last month at the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, President Xi emphasized in his speech that we should build the Belt and Road into a road connecting different civilizations. In pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, we should ensure that when it comes to different civilizations, exchange will replace estrangement, mutual learning will replace clashes, and coexistence will replace a sense of superiority. This will boost mutual understanding, mutual respect and mutual trust among different countries.

Chinese national leaders attach great importance to the construction of Confucius Institutes and instruct the latter to go for innovation, cooperation, inclusiveness and sharing, deepen the reform and innovation of teachers, teaching materials and teaching methods, extend functions, improve quality, and strive for content-driven development. Confucius Institutes should advocate the initiatives of collaborators from both sides, improve the mechanism and enhance the partnership and integration. Localization, opening doors for everyone, and promoting mutual learning are to be pushed forward. Confucius Institutes should take an active part in serving the Belt and Road Initiative, make efforts to benefit all the people, and make fresh contribution to promoting the pluralistic civilizations.

It will take a long way to go for the one-year old Confucius Institute at UCC to realize those ambitions. However, those who keep practicing will succeed, those who keep moving will reach the final destination. Roads are created by walking, achievements are scored by doing. Common cause calls for joint efforts. I would like to extend my best wishes to Confucius Institute at UCC and hope you will continue to elevate your work a notch higher. I firmly believe that your journey has just begun with a pleasing outlook and your efforts will be pay back with a more colorful future.

Thank you!

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