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1st Confucius Institute Opens in Latin America

Chinese State Councilor Chen Zhili on Wednesday granted a nameplate and donated some Chinese-teaching materials to the Confucius institute in the Mexican capital, the first of its kind in Latin America.

In a nameplate-granting ceremony at the Chinese embassy in Mexico, China's ambassador to Mexico Ren Jingyu said that with thedevelopment of China, the Chinese language has become an increasingly important communication tool.

Currently, the Chinese language has been taught at about 20 Mexican colleges, the number of students majored in Chinese has exceeded 1,000, and Chinese teachers are needed by many Mexican colleges, according to Ren.

The founding of the Confucius Institute in Mexico will contribute to the promotion of the learning of the Chinese language and culture as well as the development of the Sino-Mexican ties, said Ren.

The world's first Confucius Institute was opened in 2004 in Seoul, Korea.

The Confucius Institute program was designed by China National office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (NOCFL) to promote Chinese teaching worldwide and provide excellent teachers and learning materials for overseas Chinese learners.

The number of Confucius Institutes around the world will reach 100 in the near future, according to the NOCFL.

(Xinhua News Agency February 16, 2006)

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