The Confucius Institute, the government-backed Chinese language teaching program, hit another milestone in its overseas expansion. On May 12, it held an opening ceremony in Santiago, Chile, for the Regional Center of the Confucius Institutes for Latin America. Xu Lin, the Chief Executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters and the Director-General of Hanban, the Chinese National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, inaugurated the center together with former Chilean President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle.
Xu Lin said that the establishment of the Regional Center in Latin America marks the regular cooperation and exchange mechanism and a new service platform for all Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms in the region. It will contribute greatly to promoting the development of the Confucius Institutes in Latin America. Xu Lin also said that, over the years, China and Latin American countries have always maintained s good cooperative relationship in the fields of politics, the economy, culture, and education. Currently, 14 countries in Latin America have a total of 31 Confucius Institutes and 10 Confucius Classrooms. The Latin American Center, the second regional center overseas after the U.S. Center, aims to coordinate the work of the entire Latin American region and strengthen exchanges and cooperation between all Confucius Institutes in the area.
Former Chilean President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle pointed out in his speech that the inauguration of the Latin American Center is the result of good bilateral political, economic, and cultural relations. The two governments should further strengthen exchanges and cooperation in the field of culture and strive to see that language is no longer a barrier of communication between the two peoples.
Source: Xinhua, May 13, 2014