Britain's London South Bank University (LSBU) announced on Monday the opening of its Confucius Institute, the first of its kind in the world to offer traditional Chinese medicinal courses, including a degree in acupuncture.
At the launching ceremony, LSBU Vice Chancellor Deian Hopkin said, "We here at LSBU are very excited and proud to be launching the first Confucius Institute in Traditional Chinese Medicine in both the UK and the world."
This new Confucius Institute will offer LSBU students a wide range of ways to further understand Chinese language and culture, which will surely benefit them as they take up careers in an increasingly global workplace, he said.
Hopkin expressed his belief that the acupuncture course to be offered at the institute will expand LSBU's health and social care offering and enable the university to continue training some of Britain's best healthcare professionals.
Speaking at the ceremony, Wang Yongda, Minister Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in London, announced that the Chinese Embassy to Britain would like to offer two scholarships as a gift to the institute to support its development.
The scholarships will allow two students from LSBU to study in China for one academic year starting from this September.
The LSBU Confucius Institute, jointly funded by LSBU and the Office of Chinese Language Council International, China's Harbin Normal University and Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine, will offer students a range of opportunities, including the acupuncture course that results in full British accreditation to practice acupuncture.
It will also offer continuing professional development courses as part of the acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine programs for healthcare professionals in order to expand their knowledge and soft skills, as well as help them provide patients, such as those with chronic illness, with alternative treatments.
Confucius Institute students will be encouraged to learn Mandarin (standard Chinese) as part of their coursework, and will be given the opportunity through the Confucius Institute to study in China during the summer or in their final year.
There will also be short courses open to all LSBU students that promote all aspects of Chinese culture, including food, film, dancing.
The LSBU Confucius Institute is one of more than 200 worldwide designed to promote Chinese culture, but the first to be specialized in traditional Chinese medicine.
(Xinhua News Agency February 26, 2008)