(June 2, 2016)
Respected Chairman, Professor D.D. Kuupole, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast,
Honorable Elizabeth Ofosu-Ajare, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts of the Republic of Ghana,
Respected Professor Li Jianqi, President of Hunan City University,
Respected Professor Hu Liangcai, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute of the University of Cape Coast,
Respected Professor Kwadwo Opoku-Agyemang, Ghanaian Director of the Confucius Institute of the University of Cape Coast,
Leading members of the University of Cape Coast, Hunan Delegation, Friends from media,
Faculty members and Students, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It’s a great pleasure for me to visit this beautiful coastal city again. Nearly one month ago, the inauguration of Cape Coast Sports Stadium aided by Chinese government was held here, and the Chinese National Youth Football Team played a brilliant friendly match with the Ghanaian Black Satellites, which made the city shining and people wild with joy. Many people, including myself, have been immersed in the exciting moment since that night. Now, we are going to witness another grand occasion on China Ghana cooperation -- the establishment of Confucius Institute at University of Cape Coast. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I would like to extend my warm congratulations and sincere gratitude towards all the stakeholders including UCC, Hunan City University, Ghanaian Ministry of Education, Ghanaian Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Chinese Hanban (Confucius Institute Headquarters), as well as warm-hearted friends from all walks of life in Ghana for your support to make this happen.
Yesterday I made a presentation on China and its foreign policy at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliament. When I told those members of Parliament that I would come to UCC to commission the second Confucius Institute in Ghana, they all became excited and sent their best wishes.
I told those members of Parliament that if they want to have a keen grasp of Chinese foreign policy, first they must have a keen grasp of Chinese civilization, one of the most time-honored civilizations in the world.
China boasts a history of over 5,000 years. More than 2,000 years ago, there were over 100 masters’ schools with Confucius as the leading figure. He proposed an extensive and profound thinking system of the unity and interaction between the Heaven, the Earth and humanity. As the most outstanding master, Confucius was not only a thinker, but also a great politician. As a thinker, he founded the school of Confucianism, which becomes the backbone of the traditional Chinese culture. The Chinese civilization, in its process of development, has assimilated achievements of other outstanding civilizations in the world, but the Chinese value system is always marked by Confucianism, with the five virtues of “kindness, righteousness, propriety, wisdom and trustworthiness” passing from one generation to the next. As a politician, Confucius dreamed of building “a world of Datong”, which means a harmonious world.
So one can find that over the historical process the Chinese nation has always been peace-loving and contemporary China sticks to an independent policy of peace even when it becomes one of the major powers in the world. This is because the culture of He, which means peace and harmony, is the core of Confucianism and the traditional Chinese culture. We believe in unity between man and nature, peace among countries, the approach of “agree to disagree” and the good nature of people. Peace is most precious; treat others with kindness; don’t do to others what you don’t want others to do to you. These ideas have passed generations and taken root in the mentality of the Chinese and are reflected in their behavior.
In 1978, China’s GDP per capita was only 138 dollars and it was one of the poorest countries in the world. And now China is the world’s second largest economy, largest trading nation in goods, largest holder of foreign exchange reserves. One can also find answer to the myth why it took only 30-plus years for a country of 1.3 billion people to make the stunning achievements in the history of human developments. The path China has taken is very different from colonialism expansion or benefiting from wars by some other major powers. Chinese people mainly rely on hard working, innovation of institutions and win-win cooperation with the international world. Chinese people are modest and always aim high because we all believe as heaven maintains vigor through movement, a man should constantly strive for self-perfection. When problems arise, Chinese people do not grumble against natural conditions and other people, but always practice self-retrospection instead. Because our ancestors have instructed us to meditate three times a day: Are we faithful in giving advice to our master, are we trustworthy in our cooperation with partner, are we constantly reviewing what the teachers have taught?
It has taken eight years to establish the Confucius Institute at UCC, which proves another piece of Chinese wisdom that good things never come easy. In Chinese we say a journey of thousand miles takes every step and I am happy so see that every step is solid in preparation work. During the past eight years, Hunan City University has done a lot of work including setting up a Chinese language teaching location as well as carrying out the exchanges of teachers and students and training of Chinese teachers. Chinese teachers offer public elective courses for students to learn Chinese at UCC and some students excel in their studies. I remember at the first “Chinese Bridge” Competition in Ghana in 2014, contestant Richard from UCC delivered a speech on the pictographic character “horse” and expressed deep affection for Chinese characters and calligraphy. Another contestant Lawrence participated in the “Chinese Bridge” Competition twice and in the second year and he made champion of the non-professional group. He persists in learning Chinese every day after graduation and wishes to find a China-related job one day. So even before the Confucius Institute is formally established, the students’ passion for learning Chinese has long been ignited.
Ladies and gentlemen, teachers and students,
China and Ghana enjoy long-standing bond of traditional friendship and rapid development in cooperation in economic, trade, education and other fields. The Confucius Institute at UCC is the latest development of this strong momentum and it will make further significant contributions to cement the bilateral relations.
It will further enhance and deepen the educational exchanges and cooperation. Currently, over 4,600 Ghanaian students are studying in China, ranking the top of African countries. Two weeks ago, a Chinese famous university, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China held its first education exhibition in Accra, drawing wide attention of universities, secondary schools, enterprises and media. Hardly can you believe that the Ghanaian students account for one third of foreign students in this university. Various cooperation have been carried out between universities and colleges of both countries. For example, Shanghai Maritime University is building a logistics management discipline together with Regional Maritime University of Ghana. With the Confucius Institute, more dynamic exchanges between UCC and Hunan City University and other Chinese universities are expected.
It will further promote cultural exchanges. By learning Chinese, a growing number of Ghanaians have more understanding of China. But I do want to emphasize the understanding should be two-way and Chinese people have a lot to learn from the Ghanaian people, the stool, the dance, the football, the cuisine and the Kente cloth. I once read a book about Ghanaian proverbs and to my great surprise it contains over 7,000 pieces of proverbs. I am happy to see that Winneba Youth Choir will perform in China next month and I believe the Chinese people will enjoy their heavenly voice. The cultural integration of the two countries will greatly enhance the friendship among the people.
It will also provide strong support for economic and trade cooperation. China is Africa’s largest trading partner, Ghana included. More and more Ghanaian businessmen begin to communicate with Chinese partners in Chinese. Speaking Chinese is a major advantage and students who can speak Chinese become popular when they seek jobs after graduation, badly needed by many Chinese enterprises in Ghana or Ghanaian economic and financial institutions. Through mutual emulation, young generations will become a new force to facilitate common progress and development of our two countries.
Ladies and gentlemen, teachers and students,
As Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, I hope that the Confucius Institute at UCC will be dedicated to spreading Chinese language and culture, enriching the course contents, innovating management philosophy and cultivating high-end talents in Chinese as well. The Chinese Embassy will spare no efforts to support the development of the Confucius Institute of University of Cape Coast.
Let me conclude my remarks with another idiom of Confucius, “In pursuit of knowledge, curiosity is more important than knowledge itself, and enjoy learning is even more important than pure curiosity.” I hope you will take learning Chinese as an enjoyment.
Thank you all!