By Dmitry Baburin
A high level Chinese delegation recently launched the second Confucius Institute in Belarus. The new site is being hosted by Minsk’s State Linguistic University (MSLU) while the first opened back in 2007 at the BSU. It is very rare for a city of under two million residents to boast two such institutes of Chinese studies.
The Chinese language is currently studied by around 40 million people worldwide, and is growing in popularity. It may soon become bad manners not to be able to speak to those from China in their native language. Of course, being able to speak fluently brings mutual benefits, as Belarus’ Education Minister, Sergei Maskevich, stresses. He is confident that being proficient in Chinese language and culture should encourage relations in all spheres.
“Our future relations, trade, communication and collaboration depend on mutual understanding and better knowledge of other nations’ culture and traditions. I’m convinced that the Confucius Institute will become a successful humanitarian project. Moreover, Belarusians’ interest in studying Chinese language and culture is rising,” says Mr. Maskevich.
Chinese students are also showing interest in our state, with 1,989 studying across 25 Belarusian universities last year.
Belarusians also go to China to study, though in smaller numbers. Now that two Confucius Institutes are operational in Minsk, there is less need to travel to China to learn the language. Xu Lin, the Secretary General of the Confucius Institutes Headquarters, now supervises 353 similar institutions across 104 countries. She believes that the Institute at the BSU is one of the most positive examples. No doubt, the MSLU has a good example to follow.