Confucius Institute, a Chinese institute for promoting Chinese language, has been inaugurated at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia’s capital.
The inaugural ceremony took place on Monday on the premises of Addis Ababa University (A.A.U.) in the presence of officials and representatives of A.A.U. and Ethiopian Ministry of Education as well as Chinese diplomats and students of A.A.U.
The inaugural ceremony has featured different activities including among others, Chinese and Ethiopian traditional costume show, Chinese folk dance, and cultural dances of the two countries.
In their remarks on the occasion, speakers noted that the opening of Confucius Institute at A.A.U. would provide opportunity for young Ethiopians to learn Chinese language towards future benefits, cultural exchanges, and drawing Chinese rich experiences.
A.A.U. and Tianjin University of Technology and Education established academic and research partnership in 2011, and A.A.U. opened the Chinese language teaching center same year in November.
In 2012, A.A.U. also launched the Chinese language BA degree program, the first batch of 14 students registered and now 11 of them are studying in Tianjin University of Technology and Education (TUTE) with the support of Confucius scholarship, according to Admasu Tsegaye, A.A.U. President.
Tsegaye recalled that during Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong’s visit to Ethiopia in 2013, A.A.U. and Confucius Institute Headquarters in China signed agreement to upgrade the Chinese language teaching center at A.A.U. to Confucius Institute.
In the recruitment of new degree students in Chinese language program this year, the number of students who selected Chinese language as their major reached 52, ranking the second in all the language programs at the University, noted the President.
He expressed A.A.U.’s keen interest to scale up partnership with Chinese universities in areas of science and technology.
“By extending our partnerships to the areas of science and technology education and research partnerships with Chinese universities in the areas of science and technology, we will have mutual benefit that will contribute to the development of both countries,” he said.
Yan Bing, Vice President of TUTE, stated that his university has forged partnerships with different universities in Africa including Ethiopia’s A.A.U.
Chinese language is being taught at three Ethiopia’s universities including, A.A.U., Mekelle University, and Hawassa University in BA degree and certificate programs.
The opening of Confucius Institute in Ethiopia is an indicator of the growing economic and social ties between Ethiopia and China, said Samuel Kifle, General Director for Higher Education Administrative Affairs at the Ethiopian Ministry of Education.
Stating that the Confucius Institute at A.A.U. would be the second one in Ethiopia, Samuel noted that it would enhance the capacity of Ethiopia’s universities to teach Chinese language at different levels.
“The Ministry of education will continue to support partnering universities in the effort to expand Confucius Institute in Ethiopia,” he said.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Xie Xiaoyan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, revealed that A.A.U. has forged cooperation with more than 10 Chinese universities for research and teaching exchanges.
The Ambassador recalled the openings of Chinese language BA program at A.A.U. two years ago and Amharic language (a language in Ethiopia) course in a Chinese university last year.
Xie highlighted the role of such moves regarding languages in facilitating understanding and communication between the two peoples as well as in further strengthening friendship between the two countries.
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