• UNIZIK takes its China relationship a step further by inaugurating alumni body of her Confucius Institute
By Franklin Onwubiko (UNIZIK)
The existing romance between Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, and China through her Confucius Institute experienced a leap recently when the alumni association of the institute was inaugurated by the Vice Consular General of Chinese Embassy, Lagos, Guan Zhongqi alongside the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Joseph Ahaneku.
Speaking during the inauguration, Zhongqi expressed satisfaction with the growing cultural exchanges between China and Nigeria, while noting that “Nigeria and China are brothers and partners and share many similarities and common interests. Both of them are developing countries and their friendship has been deeply rooted and grown steadily since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1971”. He disclosed that China is working hard to cooperate with Nigeria in establishing a new type of partnership that is more long lasting, stable and mutually beneficial.
The vice consular commended the teachers in the institute and all who care and support China-Nigeria cultural exchanges. While expressing his joy with the opening of Chinese Studies Alumni Association of Nigeria, Zhongqi noted that the Confucius Institute will continue to play an important role as the cultural bridge between China and Nigeria as it seeks to cultivate more ways to promote Chinese culture in Nigeria.
In his remark, Prof. Ahaneku disclosed that the engagement between the Institute and UNIZIK commenced in 2008 and has been on till “this very moment.” He noted that this has led to celebration of excellence in the form of learning of Chinese language, culture, tradition and history.
The Vice Chancellor noted that the HSK programme (Chinese Language Proficiency Test) of UNIZIK has created an avenue for many persons to now communicate in Chinese and hoped that the University will churn out graduates who can teach the language effectively.
Pointing out that the partnership has grown to cover not only language but virtually every field of human endeavour – culture, science, medicine, agriculture, architecture – he expressed his gratitude to the consular, Chinese teachers and volunteers for showing serious commitment to the partnership.
His words: “Our students and scholars who are in various universities in China under scholarship are doing well. For three years running, we have done so well. Last year, we were declared the best Confucius Institute and the only institution in Africa that received that award. In 2014 as Deputy Vice Chancellor and Director of the institute, I received the best director award.”
Earlier in his address, the Director of Confucius Institute, Prof. Wang Bo stated that the association involves Nigerians that have completed their studies (undergraduates and post graduates) on scholarships. He revealed that 80% of Nigerian students studying in China are from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, hence the reason for the formation of the association. According to Wang Bo, the headquarters of the association which is the first of its kind is domiciled in UNIZIK.
Wang Bo listed the objectives of the association to include organising students from all parts of the country who have completed their studies in China on scholarship into an association in which scholars from all over Nigeria can stand and relate with colleagues from different universities in China and further enhance the strong bilateral relationship between Nigeria and China in diverse sectors of the economy.
High points of the occasion include the conferment on the vice consular, the title of Visiting Research Fellow at the Chinese Cultural Research Institute, UNIZIK, tree-planting by the vice consular and the Vice Chancellor to concretize the relationship; the unveiling/inauguration of the alumni body, cultural displays by the students of the institute; presentation of certificates to graduating students as well as a tour of the Confucius Institute and the campus radio, UNIZIK 94.1 FM where the vice consular was interviewed in Chinese by student wspresenters.