[photopress:MBA_confucius_Chile_1.jpg,full,alignright]China’s ambassador to Argentina and the president of the University of Buenos Aires have signed an agreement to open the first Confucius Institute in Argentina.
Ambassador Zeng Gang said bilateral exchanges between China and Argentina developed rapidly in recent years and the two peoples wanted to know more about each other.
He said that over 20 universities or cultural institutes in Argentina currently offer Chinese language courses, and thousands of Argentines are learning the Chinese language and culture.
According to the Chinese embassy this new Confucius Institute will be up and running this year.
In April, the first Confucius Institute in South America was co-established in Chile by China’s Anhui University and the Saint Thomas University of Chile.
Wang Liangen, charge d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Chile, said at the inauguration ceremony that more and more Chileans want to have a better understanding of China.
[photopress:MBA_confuciusinstitutelogo.jpg,full,alignleft]He said the Confucius Institute is designed not only to enhance overseas Chinese teaching and learning but also to promote Chinese culture exchange across the world, he said.
China is Chile’s largest trading partner, while Chile is China’s third largest trading partner.
Trade volume between the two countries hit 14.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2007.
The Confucius Institute concept is fascinating. It was established first on an experimental basis in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in June 2004. Once the concept was shown to work the first Confucius Institute opened on November 21, 2004 in Seoul, Korea.
Now the Ministry of Education estimates that, by the year 2010, there will be approximately 100 million people worldwide learning Chinese as a foreign language, and it plans to set up more than 100 Confucius Institutes worldwide. This is sometimes seen in a sinister light but, in fact, it is very similar to Alliance Francaise which does the same thing for France. It started in 1883 and has managed to build up 1,000 branches making it ten times as big as the Confucius Institutes.
Source: China View