Colloquium focuses on ties with China

01 December 2008

Would it be viable for UCT to establish a Confucius Institute?

This was the underlying question at a colloquium, hosted by deputy vice-chancellor Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo, which examined the role of Confucius Institutes in bringing African and Chinese universities together. Nhlapo proposed the colloquium after the establishment of such a centre at UCT was first mooted.

The colloquium was opened by Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price, who stressed the importance of globalisation and diversity in higher education. Keynote speaker Dr Marcellette Williams, senior vice-president at the University of Massachusetts, spoke on the future of higher education and its role in a changing society of "globo-sapiens".

"The future academic won't be a voice of confrontation but a voice of dissent, keeping alive the multiple ways of knowing," she said. "The public has entrusted us not to do their thinking for them, but to think out loud."

Dr Loveness Kaunda, director of internationalisation at UCT, explained that the purpose of the colloquium was to bring together academics and decision-makers to discuss the possibility of establishing a Confucius Institute at UCT.

"We have to ask questions such as, what form it would take, who would govern it, and will it be sustainable?" she said.

Over 200 Confucius Institutes have been established at education institutions around the world to teach and promote Chinese languages and culture, and to provide an opportunity for the local community to access knowledge about China to facilitate social and business interactions.

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