Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield: The 15th Annual Board Meeting
On the 15 March 2022, the Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield (SCI) held the 15th Annual Board Meeting, hosted by partner university Nanjing University, attended by the University of Sheffield and fellow partner university, Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU).
On the day of the meeting, directors, representatives and staff from NJU, UoS, BLCU and the SCI met for the Annual Board Meeting online, which covered the 2021 Work Report of the Sheffield Confucius Institute and the 2022 Work Plan. It was the third online meeting of the partner universities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, having also conducted the 13th & 14th Annual Board Meetings online.
Vice-President of Nanjing University, Mr Zhenlin Wang opened the meeting and addressed all attendees, welcoming everyone to the meeting, including representatives from BLCU, NJU and UoS and expressed his great pleasure to be able to participate in this year's board meeting.
Mr Wang conveyed his sorrow that the Board were unable to meet in person, whilst extending his sincere greetings Dr Butler, President Liu and colleagues from UoS and BLCU.
Mr Wang explained that the CI has a special meaning to Nanjing University (NJU), being the first Confucius Institute that NJU has established overseas. As such, it was with the opening of the Confucius Institute at the university of Sheffield that NJU took the first step into the construction of Confucius Institutes. In reference to the saying “Well begun is half done”, Mr Wang said the Sheffield Confucius Institute (SCI) is a global Model CI and has set a good example for the sound development of all CI’s of NJU.
Prof Li Liu, President of Beijing Language and Culture University, then addressed the meeting, expressing regret that he could not personally visit UoS and NJU, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst also passing on his sincere thanks to all on behalf of BLCU for their joint efforts towards the CI. President Liu put forward three suggestions for the continued development of the CI:
- Expand the function of the CI, building a platform for inter-university cooperation.
- Develop online Chinese courses through mutual cooperation.
- Due to the high demand of Chinese language learning, develop more Chinese classes, vocational curriculums and research on teaching materials and the further cultivation of talented teachers.
Afterwards, Vice-President of the University of Sheffield, Dr Malcolm Butler addressed the meeting. Dr Butler highlighted that although 2021 was challenging due to the pandemic, 2022 feels like it is emerging from the constraints of the pandemic. The CI has resumed many face-to-face meetings for staff and are discussing resuming face-to-face teaching as well.
Additionally, Dr Butler stated that despite the challenges, UoS and the CI are pleased with the delivery in 2021 and the sense of achievement in discussing plans for the 15th anniversary celebrations. Dr Butler finished by expressing his thanks to the Sheffield CI team for their continued commitment and hard work and especially to Prof Li Xiao for her role as Interim Director, since the departure of Lucy Zhao last year.
In the second part of the meeting, Interim Director of the CI, Professor Li Xiao delivered the 2021 Work Report and the 2022 Work Plan. Following on from this, Institute Coordinator of the CI, Dr Xinqun Hu provided the 2021 Financial Statement and 2022 Financial Budget.
In the later part of the meeting, various other matters were also discussed, including the 15th Anniversary celebrations plans, as the CI celebrates its 15th Anniversary this year, as well as the upcoming recruitment of the new CI Director, as well as changes to the CI Board.
The 15th Annual Meeting then came to an end, with Dr Malcolm Butler, Prof Li Liu and Mr Zhenlin Wang giving their concluding remarks. The three partner universities praised the achievements of the CI over the past year and commit to strengthening cooperation, enhancing inter-university projects and activities and the further development of the CI.
Finally, thanks, well-wishes and warm regards were passed on by Prof Li Liu, Dr Malcolm Butler and Mr Zhenlin Wang.
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