Sheffield Confucius Institute celebrates 10-year anniversary with major event
- Chinese ambassador to the UK visits Sheffield for the first time to celebrate collaboration between the University and China
- Sheffield Confucius Institute is seen as one of the UK’s leading centres of China and UK collaboration
The Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield is celebrating 10 years of collaboration between Sheffield and China.
Established in 2007, the Sheffield Confucius Institute is a partnership between the University of Sheffield, Nanjing University and Beijing Language and Culture University.
It serves to act as a focal point for all China-related activities in Sheffield and the broader region. It has a particular focus on promoting the Chinese language and, in the last 10 years, it has taught the Chinese language and culture to Sheffield’s schools, businesses and public sector bodies.
To celebrate its achievements, Sheffield Confucius Institute held a major event today (Wednesday 27 September) attended by senior representatives including Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming, Paul Blomfield MP and President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, Professor Sir Keith Burnett.
The event, hosted at the University of Sheffield, included speeches, the unveiling of a commemorative plaque, an exhibition of Confucius Institute achievements and performances from the Chinese Students and Scholars Association.
Sheffield Confucius Institute is seen as one of the UK’s leading centres of China and UK collaboration. It has twice won global Confucius Institute of the Year (2010, 2015), been named a ‘Model Confucius Institute’ in 2014, facilitated trade delegations between Sheffield and China, hosted cultural events, and helped to introduce new China-focused programmes for students at the University of Sheffield.
The number of staff, students and Sheffield residents learning Mandarin through its programmes has grown from 143 in 2007 to over 2800 in 2017.
Professor Sir Keith Burnett, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield and Chair of Sheffield Confucius Institute was awarded the Individual Performance Excellence Award in 2014 and 2016 for his work promoting the Sheffield Confucius Institute. Opening the event, he said: “Today we are celebrating a decade of close friendship and partnership between our University and city of Sheffield with the People’s Republic of China. But we are also acknowledging the tremendous achievements of our Model Confucius Institute over that time.
“Over the past 10 years, I have seen China transformed and I am truly delighted that in so many ways China is looking outwards, seeking to be a global leader and a bridge between nations in key areas such as the environment and international trade. I am also very proud of the work we are doing together in key areas of need for both countries, including advanced manufacturing, digital innovation, low-carbon technologies and health.
“I would like to thank all those who have worked so hard to make the Sheffield Confucius Institute such a force for good, and I give you my personal commitment that we will continue to press ahead for the good of the people in both our great nations.”
Speaking about China-UK relations at the celebration event, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming said: "It is my pleasure to be here at the University of Sheffield to celebrate 10 years of achievement. I want to give my warmest congratulations on behalf of the Chinese Embassy.
“The University of Sheffield encompasses the ideals of Confucius in its commitment to education in the wider community and to learning and teaching.
“The innovative ways in which Sheffield Confucius Institute teaches language and culture helps to build stronger ties as well as the extensive cooperation between Sheffield and Chinese universities in new areas such as the Shanghai Space industry, China's space station programme."
Speaking on behalf of Sheffield, Paul Blomfield MP said: “Sheffield is a city which is truly international and which has welcomed the Chinese community and Chinese students for very many decades.
"On behalf of the city and communities of Sheffield, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Sheffield Confucius Institute for all it has done to build understanding and opportunity between the people of Sheffield and China.”
As part of his visit, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming was also hosted by the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre to learn about its partnership with the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology on the Chinese space programme.
The 10 year anniversary is the start of a busy few weeks for Sheffield-China relations. In November, Sheffield will host the Horasis Global China Business Meeting 2017. ‘China and the World Economic Outlook 2017’ will bring heads of government, ministers and influential investors from across the globe to investigate sustainable business practices, innovation and collaborations to build vibrant economies. Sheffield is currently the centre of the biggest Chinese investment in the UK outside London.
Sheffield Confucius Institute’s projects in the near future include working with South Yorkshire International Trade Centre, acting as a programme partner for Sheffield-China Business Seminars until February 2018 and playing a role in publicising Sheffield in China by helping to organise a boxing match between Chinese and GB Olympians following the Horasis Global China Business Meeting in Sheffield in November.
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