Caribbean's leading university to teach Chinese language

By Earl Bousquet
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, December 28, 2010
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Caribbean university students wishing to learn to speak Chinese will be able to do so without going to China. And those wishing to learn more about Chinese culture won't have to fly to Beijing either. They'll all be able to do both in Trinidad & Tobago, thanks to an agreement between the Caribbean's leading regional university and China's Confucius Institute.

The University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Confucius Institute signed a Memorandum of Agreement towards the end of 2010, to promote Chinese language and culture at the UWI's St. Augustine campus in Trinidad & Tobago.

The UWI is the Caribbean's leading academic institution, serving all 15 Caribbean Community (Caricom) member-states and has campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.

Through the new three-year agreement, the Confucius Institute will provide instructors to teach Mandarin and promote Chinese culture at St. Augustine.

The courses will be taught through the UWI's Centre for Language Learning (CLL) at St Augustine and the Confucius Institute will provide a lecturer in Mandarin to the CLL for three years, starting in January 2011.

The agreement was officially signed at St. Augustine on December 10 by China's Ambassador to Trinidad & Tobago Yang Youming and UWI Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the St Augustine Campus Professor Clement Sankat.

The memorandum follows signs of wider diplomatic engagement between Trinidad and Tobago's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of the PRC in Port of Spain, which recently jointly hosted the world-renowned Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe at St Augustine.

The UWI's Institute of International Relations (IIR), also based in Trinidad & Tobago, recently hosted a visiting delegation of Chinese academics.

But the increased ties and new agreements between the Caribbean and Chinese academic institutions aren't only limited to language and culture. They also include a research component.

The UWI and the Crops Research Institute of China's Guangdong Province recently agreed to undertake collaborative research in crop sciences to address food security challenges facing Trinidad & Tobago and the wider Caribbean region.t

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