On behalf of the University of Auckland, Chancellor Scott St John welcomed the Fudan University President Xu Ningsheng, Auckland Consul General of the People’s Republic of China Madam Xu Erwen, Confucius Institute Board Members, and other guests to the Model Confucius Institute on 6th November.
"The origins of this relationship stretch back more than a decade and culminated in 2007 when then Prime Minister, the Rt Honourable Helen Clark launched this, New Zealand’s first Confucius Institute." Mr St John said, "That deepening relationship has been built on greater understanding and knowledge, people-to-people connections, cultural experiences and language. This is at the heart of the work of the Confucius Institute."
Since 2007 the Auckland Confucius Institute has sent 140 school leaders to China, brought 250 Mandarin Language Assistants to the Auckland region and provided Chinese cultural and language teaching to more than 130,000 school children across the city and beyond.
The Institute has encouraged language and cultural understanding through programmes targeting businesses. It has promoted the dynamic Chinese culture through events that have enriched the diverse civic life in Auckland and New Zealand.
It is a significant achievement to be recognised as one of the most successful Confucius Institutes globally and to be awarded the status of a Model Confucius Institute, the only Model Institute in Australasia. With the funding support from Hanban, this Auckland Council-owned heritage building, Pembridge House, has been refurbished to be the premises for the Model Confucius Institute.
A delegation led by President Xu Ningsheng attended the ceremony. As a strategic partner of UoA, Fudan University has been supportive on the Confucius Institute since its very beginning. Alongside the launch of the Model CI, the two universities also signed the MOU to establish the Fudan-UoA Centre for China Studies in Oceania. The Centre will foster multi-disciplinary collaborations between academics at Fudan and Auckland while at the same time working together to collaborate with universities in the Oceania region and in China.
In his speech, President Xu remarked, "Fudan University will consistently support the development of the Confucius Institute and the Centre. Firstly, Fudan University will connect top scholars and academic newcomers in China, with those in Oceania, to build up the center’s academic networks and form a high-level, interactive and collaborative research community that promotes theoretical research and the cultivation of a vibrant academic environment. Secondly, Fudan university will integrate the academic, financial and human resources accumulated through cooperation between Fudan University, its co-founded Confucius Institutes and other overseas centers to facilitate academic knowledge transfer and collaboration."
Since the launch of Confucius Institute in 2007, New Zealand has strengthened political, foreign policy, trade, business, cultural and education connections that have seen China become not only our country’s largest trading partner, but also our ninth source of direct foreign investment, single most important source of international students and our second largest market for tourists.
"The success of the Confucius Institute is an example or a model of the bilateral relationship and cultural exchanges between China and New Zealand," said by Mme Xu Erwen, Consul-General of the People's Republic of China in Auckland, "The Confucius Institute is an important platform for the world to understand China and an important channel for promoting mutual understanding and cooperation between China and the world." She also expressed her congratulations and best wishes to the institute, "I hope that the people of our two nations, China and New Zealand, will take the advantage of the Confucius Institute as a platform to further promote the existing friendly relations between China and New Zealand, and help New Zealand to better take part in the "One Belt, One Road" initiative, to build a community of human destiny and harmonious world! I hope that the two high-level world-class universities, The University of Auckland and Fudan University, can also use the platform of the Confucius Institute to further enhance their academic researches and academic reputations!"