Canada's Dawson College, Sherbrooke University and Beijing Normal University launched Thursday the Confucius Institute in Quebec which aims to promote the teaching of the language and culture of China within the French-speaking province and eastern Canada.
The ceremony took place in Dawson's new theater in downtown Montreal, in the presence of Quebec Premier Jean Charest, Chinese Ambassador to Canada, Lu Shumin and some 100 special guests from the fields of politics, education and local Chinese community.
The Confucius Institute, the third of its kind in Canada, will provide training to entrepreneurs wishing to do business in China and to individuals interested in acquiring knowledge about this rich culture. The other two Confucius Institutes are respectively affiliated to the British Columbia Institute of Technology and the University of Waterloo.
"We have always been fascinated by China's impressive evolution and centuries-old culture," said Richard Filion, Director General of Dawson College.
"We have every hope for the present as well as future, particularly in view of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and the World's Fair in 2010 in Shanghai, that the institute will act as a place for exchange and education." He said.
Liu Chuansheng, Chairperson of the Beijing Normal University Council, expressed her congratulations on behalf of China's Hanban, the office promoting teaching Chinese as the second language.
With a population of 1.3 billion, China is opening up to the world and is increasing its links in economic and industrial sectors, as well as in higher education and research. It is estimated that by the year 2010, more than 100 million people will be studying Chinese worldwide.