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China, Oman Co-Establish Chair of Arabic Studies
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China and Oman signed an agreement in Beijing Tuesday to establish a chair of Arabic studies at Peking University. Omani Minister of Education Yahya Bin Saud attended the signing ceremony.


The Sultan Qaboos Chair of Arabic Language Studies will support and enhance research and study in China in the field of Arabic language, literature, culture and history, especially related to Oman.


According to Yahya, the project will also contribute to the establishment of a library in the Arabic Department of Peking University, and push forward exchange activities between Chinese and Omani institutions of higher education.


"The chair will contribute to academic relations and understanding between the two countries and the two peoples," said Yahya, adding it will also help to increase the number of Omani students in China.


Xu Zhihong, president of Peking University, said the university -- the first Chinese university to set up a major in Arabic in 1946 -- has always attached great importance to Arabic language studies.


"The launch of the chair will be the first step in the new era of Arabic language and teaching in China," Xu said.


The project will operate over periods of five years, with 200,000 Omani rials (some US$500,000) from the Omani side in the first year, and 100,000 rials per year in the following four years.


Omani ambassador to China Abdullah Saleh Al Saadi, President of Sultan Qaboos University Saudi Al Riyami, ambassadors from Arabic countries and Arabic researchers and professors in China also attended the ceremony.


(Xinhua News Agency July 4, 2007)

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