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Chinese Learning Center Launched in Kenya

Kenyan officials and visiting Chinese educators launched a cooperative program on Tuesday in Kenyan capital Nairobi, which will enable more Kenyans to learn Chinese to enhance cultural and economic exchange between the two nations.

Zhou Ji, Education Minister of China and George Saitoti, Kenyan Minister for Education, Science and Technology jointly signed an accord to build the Chinese language learning center, "the Confucius Institute" in the University of Nairobi.

"China will sponsor the establishment of the center, building amulti-media lab, and training more local people to learn and teach Chinese," Zhou Ji said, adding that through such program, mutual understanding and cultural exchange would be hopefully enhanced.

Saitoti, for his part, said: "The agreement will enhance our collaboration in the teaching of Chinese language and strengthen our linkage in other areas like tourism, trade, and etc. In other words, our two peoples will be able to interact more freely and hence trade better and visit one another in our respective countries."

With the expansion of Chinese investment in the eastern African country, which was also granted the Approved Destination Status for organized group travel by Chinese citizens earlier this year, Kenya's demand for professionals of Chinese language is hence expected to increase in the upcoming years.

China has started to promote its language studies worldwide recently, having built unified "Confucius Institute" in several European countries.

Confucius is the most prominent thinker, statesman, educator in the Chinese history, and Confucianism has been in the center of traditional mainstream Chinese culture for more than 2,000 years, having far-reaching influence in people of Chinese origin worldwide. China thus hopes to use the fame of the prominent historic figures as a trademark to promote Chinese learning and teaching throughout the world.
(Xinhua News Agency June 23, 2004)

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