Officials from China and Kazakhstan on Wednesday hailed their cultural cooperation at an inauguration ceremony for the Confucius Institute at the Eurasia University in Kazakhstan, according to news reaching here from Astana.
In his speech at the ceremony, Zhanseit Tuymebayev, Kazakh Education Minister, said that close cooperation between the two countries in the fields of politics, economy and culture has led to a growing demand for people proficient in the Chinese language. The establishment of the Confucius Institute will contribute tremendously to bilateral cooperation in various fields.
Zhang Xiyun, Chinese ambassador to Kazakhstan hailed the achievements of cultural and educational exchanges and cooperation between the two neighboring countries.
He noted that Chinese is becoming increasingly popular among Kazakh students, and said he believed the Confucius Institute will train large numbers of people with good command of Chinese who can serve as envoys in cultural exchanges between the two countries.
The Eurasia University is the biggest comprehensive university founded after the independence of Kazakhstan, and 26 visiting heads of state have made speeches there.
Confucius Institutes are non-profit schools specializing in Chinese language education and cultural communication. They have become an important means of spreading the Chinese language abroad and promoting understanding between China and the rest of the world.
The world's first Confucius Institute opened in South Korea's Seoul in 2004. According to the Office of Chinese Language Council International, China will have 500 Confucius institutes by the end of 2010.
As the founder of Confucianism, Confucius, born in 551 B.C., was a great thinker, educator and philosopher in ancient China.
Advocating building a harmonious society through individuals' self-refinement in manners and taste, Confucianism has been the dominating ideology in Chinese society for centuries and was spread to Europe in the late 16th century.