Shandong Province Delegation Visits Mak, Presents Nishan House

A delegation from the Shandong Province of the People's Republic of China on Tuesday, 11th November 2019 visited Makerere University and presented the Nishan House; a symbolic representation of the birth place of Confucius, the great philosopher after whom Confucius Institutes are named. The delegation was led by Honourable Fu Zhifang, President of the Shandong Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPC).

Earlier, the delegation had visited the Confucius Institute (CI) at Makerere University where they unveiled the Nishan House. According to the Shandong Friendship Publishing House website, Nishan House has since establishment served as an important platform to collect and exhibit the excellent achievements of human civilizations and to promote the cultural exchanges between China and other countries. The Nishan House at Makerere University will add to the 25 Nishan Houses located in 14 countries worldwide.

Welcoming the delegation, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Dr. Umar Kakumba extended warm greetings from the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe who is away on official duty. He thanked the President and his delegation for taking time off their visit to Uganda to meet the University Management, tour the Confucius Institute and unveil the Nishan House.

We are delighted to host the Confucius Institute at Makerere University as a platform for cultural exchange, sharing Chinese literature and books and promoting cooperation between our people and Chinese institutions remarked Dr. Kakumba.

He noted that China through the Confucius Institute was reaching out to the wider section of the Ugandan community by offering Chinese language classes to secondary school students and members of the public. He shared that Makerere University had responded by offering the Bachelor of Chinese and Asian Studies as a way of giving our students certified degrees for their linguistic knowledge of Mandarin.

The Director, Confucius Institute at Makerere University, Prof. Xia Zhuoqiong in her presentation to the delegation shared that her Institute was hailed as the best worldwide on 5th December 2018 during the 13th Confucius Institute Conference held in Chengdu, China. She added that to help extend services closer to the population CI currently has seven teaching sites in Uganda.

Prof. Zhuoqiong added that CI conducts training for Chinese teachers in Ugandan secondary schools and in September 2019, held its first Seminar for the educators. The Seminar held at Luyanzi College Bweyogerere, was aimed at improving Ugandan Chinese teachers' understanding of Chinese teaching and enhancing their level of instruction in the same.

Honourable Fu Zhifang in his remarks expressed heartfelt thanks to Makerere University for the warm reception and hospitality extended to his delegation. He also lauded the University Management for maintaining an atmosphere that is conducive to pursuit of academic excellence and promotion of cultural exchanges at the campus.

He assured the young people that they would enjoy boundless opportunities in the future if they went on to master Mandarin through the degree programme and courses offered by the Confucius Institute. President Zhifang also noted that Confucius Institute belongs to the world and serves as a great opportunity to promote people to people exchanges. He then presented the DVCAA with a gift of the Shandong people, depicting important historical figures.

The day would have been incomplete without a demonstration of linguistic mastery of Mandarin. This was provided by way of a vote of thanks moved by Ms. Eunice Nakina aka Yang Sisi on behalf of the students of the Bachelor of Chinese and Asian Studies. Going by the nods of approval from the President and his delegation, Ms. Nakina did a splendid job.

The delegation's visit was crowned with a song performance by Confucius Institute students.

Source: MAKERERE University

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