Xiang Dong Visits UNIZIK, Commissions Chinese Cultural Research Centre of Nigeria
• By Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu
The Chinese Cultural Research Centre of Nigeria was Tuesday, commissioned at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka by the Cultural attache of the Chinese Embassy in Abuja Mr. Yan Xiang Dong. Earlier, Mr. Yan Xiang Dong was received in audience by the Vice Chancellor Prof. J. E. Ahaneku, FAS.
      In his welcome address, the vice chancellor appreciated the efforts of the guests and dignitaries who despite their busy schedules, created time to attend the event which the university had the great honour of housing. 

     Prof Ahaneku further said that The Confucius Institute at the university was established in January 2007 through the instrument of a Memorandum of Understanding between the university, Chinese Language Council International (HANBAN) and Xiamen University. 

    According to Prof. Ahaneku, the Memorandum of Understanding was aimed at the teaching of Chinese Language and Culture to the university students and the general public, promoting research on China and scholarly exchanges between Nigeria and China, and conducting Chinese Language Proficiency Tests (HSK). 

      The vice chancellor further said that the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding has progressed smoothly as Chinese Language and Culture are taught at both Diploma and Degree levels in the university. Prof. Ahaneku also said that Chinese classes have been established in some tertiary institutions and that many students of the university are studying in various Chinese universities in different disciplines with Chinese government scholarships, and that there is subsisting staff exchange between the university and Xiamen University.
     Prof Ahaneku further said that arrangements are underway to deploy staff of the university to teach Igbo Language and Culture in Xiamen University to make the university’s relationship with it truly reciprocal. The vice chancellor also expressed his joy for the honour given to the university to host the Chinese Cultural Research Centre of Nigeria.  

      The vice further reiterated the commitment of the university to develop the centre to better standard in near future. “Nnamdi Azikiwe University is able to rise to the challenge of this responsibility which has placed the entirety of Nigeria under the purview of the university. Prof. Ahaneku further urged the Chinese government to see the centre as an avenue of strengthening its relationship with Nigeria. According to him, the Chinese government should encourage the centre by employing its graduates in its embassies and companies.
     In his address, the Cultural attache of the Chinese Embassy in Abuja Mr. Yan Xiang Dong commended the university for finding it wise to strengthen the Nigerian-Chinese relationship. According to him, the Confucius Institute at the university has trained many in the field of Chinese Language and that the centre will serve as a boost to the relationship between Nigeria and China. 

    He said that the Chinese government has invested a lot in Nigeria and will continue to do so because Nigeria and China have many things in common. He further said that the Chinese government will always do its best to encourage and strengthen the centre and develop it to a higher level.
    In her address, the centre’s National director Prof. Caroline Umeobi expressed her joy over the historic event and assured the Chinese government and the general public that the centre won’t let them down.
     Other highlights of the event include the presentation of a symbolic key of the centre to the Chinese government represented by the attache of the Chinese Embassy in Abuja Mr. Yan Xiang Dong by the vice chancellor Prof. Ahaneku, Tree planting jointly done by the vice chancellor and Mr. Xiang which signifies the strengthening of the relationship between Chinese authorities and the centre, unveiling and commissioning of the centre by Mr. Xiang, Chinese Cultural language and cultural display by students of Confucius Institute at the university and brief entertainment by the university’s theatre arts Department.
      Kindly note that the Chinese Cultural and Research Centre commissioned at Nnamdi Azikiwe University is the first and only one in Nigeria and Africa.
     Other dignitaries at the event that ended around 4PM include some members of the university’s management, the university staff, President of the University’s Student Union Government Precious Ozems, traditional rulers, members of the Chinese community and gentlemen of the press.

(PHOTO CREDIT: Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu)

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