Presidents of universities convened the forum for 21st Century Maritime Silk Road


On 5 April, the "21st Century Maritime Silk Road University Presidents Forum was held in Xiamen University. 63 presidents of universities and deans, as well as directors, of Confucius Institutes attended the forum for discussion on the topic about the construction of Confucius Institutes, internationalization of higher education and the adaptability of civilization between countries along the One Belt, One Road.

 In his speech, Zhu Chongshi, president of Xiamen University, gave an introduction to the development of internationalization of education. According to him, Xiamen University has established cooperative programs with more than 280 universities covering more than 120 countries and districts, such as UK, USA, Japan, France, Germany, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, etc. And Xiamen University Malaysia, the first overseas university completely financed and administrated and managed by Xiamen University, one of the top universities in China, began to operate in February 2016. President Zhu said that the internationalization of education cannot work well without the element of Confucius Institutes, which, he emphasized, serve as an important platform for the promotion of Chinese language and culture, and a basis for the cooperation between universities. He expected that Confucius Institutes would play a more and moreimportantrole in the implementation of One Belt, One Road project.

Xu Lin, general-secretary of Confucius Headquarters (Hanban), expressed her congratulations on the 95th anniversary of Xiamen University. She said that the key point of One Belt, One Road lies in the five exchanges, such as exchange of policies, exchange of facilities, exchange of trades, exchange of capitals, and exchange of thinking, while Confucius Institutes play an important part in the exchange of thinking. Hanban will continue to support the Confucius Institutes all over the world, specially focusing on the construction and development of the Confucius Institutes in the countries along the One Belt, One Road area, according to her. 

Frazer James Allan, vice president of Victoria University of Wellington, Michael Lim Tan, president of University of the Philippines Diliman, and Chris Brink, president of Newcastle University, presided respectively the session for the role of Confucius Institutes in the internationalization of higher education, session for Confucius Institutes and exchange of civilization, and session for the role of Confucius Institutes in the construction of One Belt, One Road”.

Keynote speakers include Sanjay Deshmukh, president of University of Mumbai, Michael Jäckel, president of University of Trier, Geoffrey G. Gachino, dean of University of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Freddy Boey, vice president of Nanyang Technology University ofSingapore, Charles Riordan, vice president of University of Delaware, Muhammad Qaiser, president of University of Karachi, VAnchai Sirichana, president of Mae Fah Luang Unversity, Tadesse Mehari, executive director of National Board for Higher Education Eritrea, Marek Bojarski, president of University of Wroclaw, Robert Summerby-Murray. president of Saint Mary's University, Somsy Gnophanxay, vice president of National University of Laos, Patrick Kee Peng Kong, president of Segi University, Malaysia, Joseph E. Ahaneku, president of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria, Salim Daccaches .j., president of Sait-Joseph University, Lebanon, Juanito Camilleri, president of University of Malta, etc.

Since 2006, Xiamen University has set up 16 Confucius Institutes and 43 affiliated Confucius Classrooms in 13 countries, and as the Southern Base of Confucius Institute Headquarters, has given training courses to more than 10000 Chinese and foreign deans and teachers of Chinese language. Xiamen University also has set up 64 cooperative programs with the universities which hold Confucius Institutes, including the exchange of 80 professors and 700 students since 2006.

Note: The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, also known as The Belt and Road(abbreviated B&R), One Belt, One Road (abbreviated OBOR) or the Belt and Road Initiative is a development strategy and framework, proposed by People's Republic of China that focuses on connectivity and cooperation among countries primarily in EURASIA, which consists of two main components, the land-based "Silk Road Economic Belt" (SREB) and oceangoing "Maritime Silk Road" (MSR). The strategy underlines China's push to take a bigger role in global affairs, and its need to export China's production capacity in areas of overproduction such as steel manufacturing. It was unveiled by Chinese paramount leader Xi Jinping in September and October 2013 in announcements revealing the SREB and MSR, respectively. Also, it was promoted by Premier Li Keqiang during the State visit in Asia and Europe.