Third Confucius Institute opens in Chile

SANTIAGO, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) — Chilean and Chinese officials on Thursday inaugurated the Confucius Institute at southern Chile’s La Frontera University (UFRO), the third one of its kind in the South American country.

Established in conjunction with the Communication University of China (CUC), the institute aims to bring communities in this part of Chile closer to China’s culture and language, and strengthen the bonds between the two nations.

“As a country, we want to be at the forefront, and from the south of Chile, we want our students to have the opportunity to get to know China’s culture, art and language,” Eduardo Hebel Weiss, the rector of the UFRO, said during a virtual ceremony in the city of Temuco in the La Araucania region, some 600 km south of the capital Santiago.

The ceremony also commemorated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Chile and China, with the participation of representatives from both universities and the Chinese International Education Foundation, as well as diplomats from their respective embassies.

China “is the most populous country in the world,” and brims with “millenary cultural wealth” and extensive economic development, Hebel said.

Learning the Chinese language will allow the region’s youth “to have the opportunity to explore an unprecedented future, enrich their vision of the world, and bring two cultures that are at once so distant and so close closer together, given the connected world in which we live in today,” Hebel added.

The new Confucius Institute will be “a window in the south to Chinese culture, in order to carry out academic, scientific and cultural exchange,” said Hebel, whose university began to teach the Chinese language in 2013.

Likewise, Liao Xiangzhong, president of the CUC, said he hoped the Confucius Institute of the UFRO “will become an important platform for academic cooperation and cultural exchanges between the two countries.”

To that end, China will provide “the most sophisticated Chinese teaching resources, including teachers, to meet the demand for learning Chinese at the university itself and its surrounding communities,” Liao said.

Bilateral exchanges in the political, economic, cultural and educational realms have made evident the urgent need to “improve mutual understanding and expand cooperation” through communication between both hemispheres, even more so in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Liao.

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