A new Confucius Institute was inaugurated on Wednesday in Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. Approximately 200 people attended the opening ceremony at the Economics Faculty at the University of Ljubjana, including Slovenia's first lady, Barbara Miklic Turk.
According to Dusan Mramor, dean at the Economics Faculty, the establishment of what is the 284th Confucius Institute represented a "privilege to be part of this global network."
Although the driving force for greater links with China began at the Faculty of Philosophy with the introduction of Sinology in 1995, cooperation between the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade and his faculty began in 2009, culminating with the establishment of the Confucius Institute in Ljubljana.
By providing Chinese language skills and cultural insight, the Confucius Institute would be "a business hub of understanding" between China and Slovenia and perhaps the region, he stated.
According to Stanislav Pejovnik, rector of the university, it was essential for Slovenians and people of the western Balkan region to grasp the significance of the rapid development of China and the need to be partners to this trend.
"It is important to be able to speak the Chinese language to be able to understand what is going on there," said Pejovnik, adding,"the future of the world will depend very much on the development of this part of the world (China)."
"I'm glad that we have joined the family of almost 300 Confucius institutes and the family of 100 million people who are learning Chinese outside of China," stated Pejovnik.
Yang Jianzhong, Charge D'affaires, of the Chinese embassy, said that the opening of the Confucius Institute would further "deepen" and "extend" the friendship between the two countries.
"Confucius Institutes as non profit educational organizations devote themselves to satisfy the demands of people from all over the world to learn the Chinese language to enhance the understanding of Chinese culture," he explained.
"It marks a new stage for Slovene friends to learn the Chinese language to get some insights into the Chinese culture as well as business environment in China,"stated Yang.
The inauguration of the Confucius Institute was followed with a lecture from Professor Mitja Saje, a sinologue, on the theme "Silk Road, the framework of early connection between Europe and China".
(Xinhua News Agency May 27, 2010)