A Chinese language institute, the first of its kind in Zimbabwe and the 85th around the world, was officially established at the University of Zimbabwe on Wednesday.
The Confucius Institute was jointly built by the Office of Chinese Language Council International and the University of Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe Confucius Institute is a case that indicates the increasing cultural and educational exchange activities between China and Zimbabwe, said Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Zhang Xianyi at the ceremony on signing a memorandum on this matter.
Zhang said he was fully convinced that with the support of the two governments the institute will serve as an ideal platform for the people of Zimbabwe to learn the Chinese language and know about the Chinese culture.
"It is bound to make greater contributions to enhance the bilateral cultural and educational exchange between the two countries and two peoples," he said.
The ambassador said Confucius is a great thinker and educator in ancient China, and the essence of Confucianism, which he founded around 2,500 year ago is harmony and peace.
It has been a virtue for the Chinese nation for generations to love and safeguard peace, maintain good neighborliness, coexist peacefully with people of all over the world, said the ambassador.
China and Zimbabwe are endowed with a long history of friendship and relations of mutual benefit, and the two countries are always sympathized with and accord valuable support to each other, Zhang said.
He said the past years had witnessed comprehensive and profound development of the bilateral relations and increased exchange and cooperation on culture and education between the two countries.
Stan Mudenge, Zimbabwean minister of higher and tertiary education, said at the ceremony that language is an important tool that helps promote mutual understanding and friendship among people. To that end the Zimbabwean government encourages its people to learn foreign languages and culture.
"The establishment of the institute is but the beginning in a series of educational programs that we intend to initiate with China," the minister said.
With the Confucius Institute in place, the people of Zimbabwe will learn more about the Chinese cultural diversity and how unity is achievable in this sea of different cultures and subcultures that make up the great Chinese nation, Mudenge said.
Mudenge said Zimbabwe also envisages the launching of short-term courses in Chinese language at the Management Training Bureau and more programs, for example, the establishment of a department of pharmacology at the Harare Institute of Technology, will facilitate and enhance the transfer of technology for sustainable development in Zimbabwe.
He also expressed thanks to the Chinese ambassador for the US$100,000 donation to the institute by the Chinese government.
(Xinhua News Agency August 31, 2006)