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China, Colombia Start 1st Educational Exchange Program
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A group of 21 Chinese students will study in 13 Colombian universities as part of the first-ever educational exchange program between China and Colombia, officials announced in Bogota at a ceremony to mark the event on Thursday.


The program was a good start for education cooperation between the two countries, and will certainly play an important role in promoting cultural communication and friendship between the two peoples, said Marta Lucia Villegas Botero, a Colombian official in charge of the program.


Speaking at the ceremony, Wu Changsheng, China's ambassador to Colombia, encouraged the students to take the opportunity to make academic achievements and contribute to China's development.


The 21 Chinese students, who arrived on Tuesday, will study courses lasting between six months and a year, with all expenses covered by the Colombian government.


The program was initiated by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe after his visit to China in 2005, during which he was impressed by the fluent Spanish spoken by Chinese university students, saying he would offer them a chance to study in Colombia.


(Xinhua News Agency February 17, 2006)

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