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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jinxiong at the Opening Ceremony of Confucius Institute at AdeKUS

(16 February, 2017,Anton de Kom University of Suriname)

H.E. Ashwin Adhin, Vice President of the Republic of Suriname,

H.E. Patrick Pengel, Minister ad interim of Education, Science and Culture,

H.E. Mike Noersalim, Minister of Home Affairs,

H.E. Satenar Kumar, Ambassador of India to Suriname (Members of Diplomatic Corps),

Mr. Raafenberg, Representative of Minister of Foreign Affairs,

Professor Menke, Rector of Anton de Kom University of Suriname,

Mr. Chen Jianyong, Vice President of Zhejiang Sci-tech University,

Director Pahladsingh and Director Lin Jing,

Faculties and students,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to attend the opening ceremony of the first Confucius Institute in Suriname. First of all, I would like to warmly congratulate both Anton de Kom and Zhejiang Sci-tech University for their fruitful cooperation. This achievement is the first “golden egg” in the year of rooster and I believe the Confucius Institute will be the incubator to hatch more “golden eggs” in the years to come. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of Suriname as well as Hanban, the headquarter of Confucius Institute, for your precious support.

As you may know, Confucius is a great Chinese philosopher and educationist. His thoughts, expressed in the philosophy of Confucianism, have been profoundly shaping the Chinese culture right up to the present day. His philosophical ideas like “living in harmony”, “building a harmonious world” and “benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom and integrity” are still thriving and valued by people of the current times. Confucius Institute, named after him, not only aims at promoting and sharing those splendid ideas, but also endeavors to build bridges of communication between different civilizations in pursuit of shared and harmonious development of all mankind.

Confucius Institute is an initiative of China, but it also belongs to the world. Thanks to the joint efforts of both China and resident countries as well various sectors in the society, Confucius Institutes have been developing rapidly. 511 Confucius Institutes and 1073 Confucius Classrooms have been set up since its first establishment 12 years ago. They have become a window for the rest of the world to know more about China and a critical gateway to cultural exchanges, mutual learning, friendship and cooperation between China and other civilizations. I feel delighted that Suriname has now been well connected to the wide network of Confucius Institute.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The friendship between China and Suriname dates far back into history. Settling down in this country over 163 years ago, the Chinese Community has become an integral part of the multi-ethnic society of Suriname. The Chinese culture has also enriched its diversified culture. Last year, we celebrated 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Suriname, featured with intensifying mutual trust, fruitful cooperation in various fiends and vibrant people-to-people exchanges. The interest of Surinamese people of various ethnic groups in China and the Chinese culture have become increasingly stronger. Each year, almost a hundred Surinamese people go to China for training or study. Last month, my colleagues and I participated in Bigi Broki Waka. We were deeply impressed by the friendliness of so many local Surinamese who actually greeted us with “Ni Hao” in Chinese. This makes me even more confident in the bright prospect of the Confucius Institute here.

As a matter of fact, the establishment of this Institute is a full testament to the unremitting efforts of both Chinese and Surinamese sides. It takes us seven years to be here since the MOU was signed between Hanban and Anton de Kom University in 2010. As the old Chinese saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And as you say in the west, Rome wasn’t built in a day. With the kind of commitment and perseverance of both sides, I’m sure the Institute will flourish by pulling synergy and setting an example of disseminating culture, connecting hearts and promoting the diversity of civilization in the world. It will enable Surinamese, especially the young generation, to have more access to the Chinese language and culture, and thus cultivate more ambassadors of friendship for the development of relations and mutual beneficial cooperation between our two countries. The Chinese Embassy in Suriname always stand ready to render our assistance.

To conclude, I wish the Confucius Institute a successful opening and smooth future development!

Dank je well!

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