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Egypt and China Sign Agreement on Confucius Institute
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In Cairo on Sunday Egypt and China signed a protocol at the Chinese Embassy to set-up an Egyptian-Chinese university which would be home to a Confucius Institute.


The protocol was signed between Liaoning University, a renowned institute in northeast China and the International Education Institution of Egypt.


Wang Shan, Communist Party Secretary of Liaoning University said the signing marked the beginning of a program to set up the Egyptian-Chinese University in Egypt and the initiation of the construction of the Confucius Institute which, according to their agreement, would be completed and put into use by May, 2007.


The Confucius Institute is designed to assist Egyptians learn about China and its culture and further enhance Sino-Egyptian exchanges and cooperation, said Wang.


Karima Abd El-Karim, Chairwoman of the International Education Institution of Egypt, said the program to set up the Egyptian-Chinese University had received vigorous support from the governments of both countries.  


The announcement of the Confucius Institute in Egypt was also one of the fruits brought about by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's recent Chinese visit, Abd El-Karim said.


Mubarak visited Beijing on November 3 and attended the two-day Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. This is seen as an important conference to promote a new Sino-African strategic partnership and strengthen cooperation between China and Africa.


Abd El-Karim said the development of Egyptian-Chinese relations had resulted in wider and deeper bilateral cooperation in such fields as economy, politics and education. This had resulted in more Egyptians speaking Chinese.  


Chinese Ambassador to Egypt, Wu Sike, said after the signing ceremony that the launch of the cooperation program came against the backdrop of a very good diplomatic atmosphere as the two nations were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their ties.


Education cooperation was not only an important part of bilateral cooperation but an important element to guarantee the long-term development of Sino-Egyptian friendship, said Wu.


Liaoning University and Egypt's International Education Institution initially signed a cooperation agreement in April, 2005 on the building of the Egyptian-Chinese University in Egypt.


Confucius, born in 551 BC, was a great Chinese thinker, philosopher, statesman and educator. He was also the founder of Confucianism.


Advocating the building of a harmonious society through individual's self-refinement in manners and taste Confucianism dominated Chinese society for centuries and was spread to Europe in the late 16th century.


In an effort to promote the Chinese language and culture abroad the country's government plans to set up 100 Confucius Institutes around the world to help foreigners learn the language and understand the country's culture.


So far some 80 Confucius Institutes have been set up in approximately 36 countries and regions and up to 100 organizations from some 40 nations have applied to set up Confucius Institutes.


(Xinhua News Agency November 20, 2006)

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