The Confucius Institute at the National University of Samoa was officially opened in an opening ceremony on September 10, 2018 at 10am at the NUS main campus at Le-Papaigalagala.
The Confucius Institute was established in collaboration between the National University of Samoa and Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban, China), with Liaocheng University as the partner university in China. Confucius Institutes are non-profit public institutions that started since 2004, with the aim to promote Chinese language and culture in foreign countries. They have become a platform for cultural exchanges between China and the world, as well as a bridge to reinforce friendship and cooperation between China and the rest of the world. The Confucius Institute at the National University of Samoa is the first and only Confucius Institute established in Samoa.
The opening ceremony was attended by H.E. Wang Xuefeng, Chinese Ambassador to Samoa; Hon. Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell, Minister for Public Enterprises; Hon. Faaolesa Katopau Ainuu, Minister of Justice and Courts Administration; Hon. Papaliitele Niko Lee Hang, Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure; Professor Fui Asofou So'o, NUS Vice Chancellor & Chair of CI-NUS Board; Dr. Desmond Lee Hang, NUS Deputy Vice-Chancellor & CI-NUS Local Director; Dr. Guojie Liang, CI-NUS Chinese Director; Members of Parliament; Members of the Diplomatic Corps from New Zealand, Australia, and the US; UNESCO Representative;Delegates from Liaocheng University; Members of the Samoan Chinese Association; Members of the Local Chinese Business Community; Chinese Volunteers in Samoa; along with about 100 other guests from all walks of life including students and Principals from Vaivase Primary, Robert Louis Stevenson Primary School, Maagiagi Primary School, Leififi College and Vaimauga College. The ceremony was hosted by Professor Fui Asofou So'o, NUS Vice Chancellor & Chair of CI-NUS Board.
In the keynote speech, the Hon. Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell, Minister for Public Enterprises, reiterated the Government of Samoa's gratitude to the Government of the People's Republic of China for its support of Samoa's National Development initiatives. He acknowledged the joint efforts made by NUS and Liaocheng University in the setting up of the Confucius Institute, and pointed out that the opening of the Confucius Institute symbolized the close and strong Sino-Samoan relationship. He emphasized the shared history between Chinese and Samoan people, and encouraged young people to learn Chinese and study the Chinese culture to promote cultural understandings, enhance diplomacy and facilitate trade and commerce in the future. Finally, he thanked Hanban, the Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing for granting permission to establish the Confucius Institute, and officially declared the opening of the Confucius Institute at the National University of Samoa.
On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, H.E. Wang Xuefeng, Chinese Ambassador to Samoa gave his warmest congratulations on the opening of the Confucius Institute at NUS. As the date of the opening ceremony coincided with Teachers’ Day in China, he also delivered a Teachers’ Day wish to all the teachers present. China-Samoa ties have always been strong and solid since the two countries established diplomatic ties 43 years ago in 1975. The opening of the Confucius Institute at NUS is the best example of this growing link. Due to the rapid economic and social development of China, the interest and demand to study Chinese language have been soaring up quickly in the past decades. Confucius Institutes have acted as a bridge for communicating different languages and civilization, facilitating understanding and friendship between the people of China and other countries. For Samoa, the Confucius Institute Headquarters started sending Chinese teachers to Samoan schools since 2013, and thousands of Samoan students have benefited from the Chinese classes. Finally, H.E. Wang Xuefeng acknowledged the efforts and hard work of Liaocheng University and NUS for the establishment of the Confucius Institute, and looked forward to the Institute growing to be a symbol of China-Samoa friendship and cooperation in the heart of both the Chinese and Samoan people.
During the ceremony, Ms. Yanting Song, Director of International Programs Office at Liaocheng University, read out the letter of congratulations from Mr. Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters and Executive Deputy Director-General of Hanban, China and the letter of congratulations from Mr. Cai Xianjin, President of Liaocheng University.
In his congratulatory message, Mr. Ma Jianfei conveyed his congratulations on behalf of Confucius Institute Headquarters and expressed gratitude to all those who have made contributions to the establishment of the Confucius Institute at NUS. He emphasized the strategic partnership and practical cooperation between China and Samoa, acknowledged the position and work of National University of Samoa and Liaocheng University, and hoped that the two universities, would work together to lay a solid foundation for Chinese language learning and carry out a rich mixture of cultural activities, making the Confucius Institute a bridge between China and Samoa in educational and cultural exchanges and cooperation, and contributing to the enhancement of mutual understanding and friendship between Chinese and Samoan peoples. Finally, he wished the Confucius Institute every success.
In his congratulatory letter, Mr. Cai Xianjin, on behalf of Liaocheng University, expressed congratulations to the National University of Samoa and gave thanks to all those who contributed to the establishment and construction of the Confucius Institute. He believed that the opening of the Confucius Institute would become a milestone in the history of Sino-Samoan relations. It will provide a wonderful opportunity for local people to study Chinese language and culture, while also furthering educational and cultural exchanges between the two countries. Finally, he wished the Confucius Institute at the National University of Samoa a flourishing and fruitful future.
Hon. Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell cut the ribbon to the Confucius Institute building. H.E. Wang Xuefeng unveiled the name plate of the Confucius Institute. Professor Fui Asofou So'o invited guests to have a brief visit of the CI-NUS building. Ms. Yanting Song present gifts from Liaocheng University to the guests. Dr. Desmond Lee Hang and Dr. Guojie Liang gave thanks to the guests present.
The Confucius Institute at the National University of Samoa commits itself to 1) offering Chinese language programs to university students and community residents; 2) hosting a variety of Chinese cultural activities; 3) offering opportunities for Samoan students to go to China for academic or cultural purposes; 4) organizing all kinds of Chinese proficiency tests and Chinese teachers qualification authentication; 5) offering local Chinese teachers training programs; 6) developing study programs about modern China; and 7) providing information and consultation services about Chinese education, culture and economy.