The Confucius Institute of Egypt's famed Cairo University held a ceremony Tuesday afternoon to celebrate the opening of its first Chinese-language class.
Wang Kejian, minister counsellor of the Chinese embassy in Egypt, voiced his appreciation to those involved in the establishment and operation of the Confucius Institute of Cairo University.
"The opening of its first Chinese-language class is of great significance for both sides," Wang said at the ceremony. To study the Chinese language would help enhance the exchange of culture and promote further economic cooperation between China and Egypt, said Wang.
It's also helpful for Egypt to attract more Chinese tourists since the Chinese-language class has special programs for tourism, added Wang.
Hamdi Ibrahim, head of the Confucius Institute and Counselor of the Cairo University President for Open Learning, said it's a good chance for Egyptians to study Chinese.
Egyptian youths have the desire to study foreign languages including Chinese which would open the door to another civilization, said Ibrahim.
At the end of the ceremony, Ibrahim, on behalf of the Confucius Institute, received some 3,000 Chinese books offered by the Chinese side.
The Confucius Institute in Cairo, established last November, was jointly run by Cairo University and China's prestigious Peking University.
The institute, which is the first in Egypt and northern Africa, will offer a series of Chinese language programs to Egyptian learners and also offer training programs to Chinese language teachers for primary and middle schools as well as colleges.
(Xinhua News Agency March 19, 2008)