The virtual conference of 2022 Board Meeting of the Confucius Institute (CI) at Newcastle University (NU) was held on the afternoon of February 24 Beijing time. Yang Bin, Vice President of Xiamen University (XMU), Chen Zhiwei, Dean of XMU Chinese International Education College/Overseas Education College, Yu Hongbo, Director of XMU Overseas Campus Affairs Office and Deputy Director of XMU Office of International Cooperation and Exchange, Pan Wei, Chinese Director of the CI, He Dongmei, Deputy Dean of XMU Center for Language Education and Cooperation and other relevant staff attended the conference. Representatives from the UK included Richard Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Global of NU, Andrea Wilczynski, Head of School of Modern Languages and Andrew Law, Acting Director of the CI. Chen Zhiwei hosted the conference.
Yang Bin pointed out in his speech that as long-term strategic partners, XMU and NU have still retained close interaction even under the impact of the global pandemic. It has been ten years since the two universities signed the agreement on the cooperation on the building of the CI. Yang expressed his gratitude for the support from NU and for the commitment of all the CI staff. He also expressed his wish that the two universities could seize the new opportunities for international Chinese education development and maintain steady collaboration on projects like CI, and push their exchange and cooperation to a higher level. Richard Davies expressed his appreciation that Vice President Yang Bin has a sense of identity with the relationship between the two universities, and said that in the present world full of challenges, the international cooperation between universities has become ever more important, which could better promote the understanding of different cultures and ways of living. NU has long valued the collaboration with China, especially with XMU, and considered an increase in the number of students under the articulation agreements. With the pandemic situation getting better, Richard hoped to pay a visit to Xiamen with the president of NU at the end of this year.
Pan Wei and Andrew Law presented a summary report on the 2021 work of the CI and the 2022 budget items to the Board. In 2021, in spite of the negative impacts of the pandemic, the CI had still organized a series of high-level academic conferences and helped its teachers yield good results in the UK Mandarin Teaching Championship.
Yang Bin affirmed what the CI had achieved in the past year. He hoped the two sides would keep improving the leadership of the CI. XMU is pleased to offer support for the Chinese disciplines and programs in NU and welcomed NU’s selected Mandarin teachers to engage in high-level studies in XMU. At the same time, he also hoped that XMU would get some help from NU in upgrading its English and other disciplines.
At the end of the conference, the two sides expressed their common willingness to continue their cooperation on the CI program and exchanged ideas about how to deepen their cooperation in the future.