The Chinese Cultural Research Centre of Nigeria was Tuesday, commissioned at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, by the cultural attache of the Chinese Embassy in Abuja, Yan Xiang Dong.
The research centre is the first in Nigeria.
The vice chancellor of the school, Prof. J. E. Ahaneku, said the university was delighted to the host the centre.
“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,” he said.
He urged the Chinese government to see the centre as an avenue for strengthening its relationship with Nigeria.
He said the Chinese government should encourage the centre by employing its graduates in its embassies and companies.
He said the already The Confucius Institute at the university, established in January 2007 through a Memorandum of Understanding between the university, Chinese Language Council International and Xiamen University, was aimed at the teaching of Chinese Language and Culture to the university’s 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 said 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.
He said that arrangements were 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.
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 Chinese Language and will serve as a boost to the relationship between Nigeria and China.
He said the Chinese government had invested a lot in Nigeria and would continue to do so because Nigeria and China have many things in common.
He further said the Chinese government would 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, tree planting jointly done by the vice chancellor and Mr. Xiang, unveiling and commissioning of the centre by Mr. Xiang, and cultural display by students of Confucius Institute at the university.