Remarks by Consul General Xu Erwen on the 2018 Summit of Chinese Language Education in the South Pacific
(Massey University, Albany, Auckland, 24 September 2018)

Respected Mr Raymond Huo, Member of NZ Parliament,

Mr Paul Spoonley, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Massey University,

Ms Letuimanu Asina, CEO of Samoa Qualification Authority,

Dean Akanisi of South Pacific University,

Mr Martin Jarvis of Darwin University, Australia,

Dear Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Afternoon!

Today happens to be the mid-autumn festival, one of the most important Chinese traditional festivals. At the outset, please allow me to extend my best wishes to all the friends present here for a very happy mid-autumn festival.

It is my pleasure to be invited to the “2018 Summit of Chinese Language Education in the South Pacific” held in Auckland for the first time. On behalf of the Chinese Consulate-General in Auckland, I would like to extend a warm welcome to the experts and scholars from the countries of the South Pacific region, and also my special thanks to the organizers of the summit, Massey University and Jinan University Chinese school of New Zealand.

Chinese Language Week is the third language week after Maori Language Week and Pacific Language Week that have been established by the New Zealand Government. It is also the first Chinese language week initiated by a Western country. Broadly supported and welcomed by the NZ government and people, Chinese Language Week plays a critical role in promoting the establishment of more Chinese courses in schools of NZ. During the Chinese language Week, various activities such as speech contests, calligraphy and cultural exhibitions are spontaneously organized, creating better opportunities for more students to be exposed to the Chinese language and traditional culture. I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to the New Zealand government and friends from all walks of life for the contribution to this endeavor.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

NZ is the very first western country to sign the Belt and Road cooperation agreement with China and now both countries have entered into a period to construct this important initiative. Based on principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, the Belt and Road is a road to enhance and deepen connectivity of policy, infrastructure, trade, financing, and people-to-people exchange. It is an open, transparent and inclusive platform for international cooperation and a road to tap the economic comparative advantages of the countries along the Belt and Road to achieve win-win results. It is a road to build a community with shared future for mankind. The South Pacific area is a natural extension of 21st maritime Silk Road. We have different languages and diversified cultures. Only through interconnectivity of languages can we better understand each other and better foster cultural communication and dialogues, so that mutual trust will be increased and doubts be dispelled from each other, and people to people exchanges be achieved in practice.

In the past decade, learning Chinese is in the ascendant in the South Pacific region. The number of students learning Chinese has been growing rapidly, so are the Confucius institutes and classrooms. Until recently, altogether 19 Confucius Institutes and 101 Confucius Classrooms have been established in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu, which fully demonstrates the great potential of the teaching of Chinese and enthusiasm of learning Chinese.

Language is the most significant communication tool for human being, which acts as a window into the cultural exchanges and also a bond connecting diverse cultures. Strengthening the interconnectivity of languages paves the way for the Belt and Road construction and for building a community with a shared future for mankind. This Summit, held at the right time, will further strengthen the links and communication between Chinese language educators in the South Pacific region, providing a platform for the exchange of theories and practical experiences concerning Chinese teaching. I hope that through the summit, all educators participate and engage actively to fully strengthen exchanges to achieve mutual improvement. I am confident this will greatly boost Chinese language teaching in the South Pacific region, and further contribute to the common prosperity and friendship between China and the South Pacific region.

Last but not the least, I wish the summit a great success and may you all enjoy your stay here in Auckland.

Thank you!

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