The 13th Global Confucius Institute Conference opened on Tuesday in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, as participants discussed new ways to teach Mandarin as a foreign language and how to better enhance cultural exchanges.
The event welcomed over 1,500 delegates from 154 countries and regions, including university presidents, scholars, Confucius Institute directors and education personnel.
Sun Chunlan, vice-premier of the State Council of China and chair of the Council of Confucius Institute Headquarters attended the conference and delivered a speech at the opening ceremony.
The Chinese government encourages cross-cultural exchanges and supports the Chinese side and its foreign partners in making Confucius Institute a success, she said.
Sun spoke highly of the contribution made by the Confucius Institute in catering to people's need to learn Mandarin and serving economic and trade cooperation between China and other countries.
"Through joint efforts of both Chinese sides and their foreign partners, the education quality of the Confucius Institute has steadily increased, with increasingly active cultural exchanges and continuously enhanced service capability," she said.
Sun also stated that to build a community with a shared future for humanity and push forward inclusive prosperity for all nations, languages need to play a unique role in enhancing understanding, building consensus, promoting cooperation and deepening friendship.
This year's event features two seminars, eight sessions and 20 workshops for Chinese and foreign university presidents and heads of Confucius Institutes who will discuss various topics such as innovation in teaching methodologies, digitization of Confucius Institutes and establishment of diverse partnership among different educational organizations.
The Confucius Institutes have become an educational institute capable of offering valuable experiences in sustainable development for other institutes.
President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield Keith Burnett, who is also the chair of the Board of Confucius Institute at the university, shared how the institute cooperates with local government and companies.
Burnett noted that the institute has become an integral part of the local community with its practical actions in fields such as commerce, advanced manufacturing, health care, and services for overseas students.
This year has seen the establishment of 30 new Confucius Institutes in nine countries, including the Dominican Republic and the Republic of El Salvador, for the first time.