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Beyond Boundaries: Stellenbosch University's Winter Camp in China http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10458Beyond Boundaries: Stellenbosch University's Winter Camp in China CISU<p>​The 2023 Winter Camp to China, jointly organised by the Confucius Institute at Stellenbosch University (CISU) and Xiamen University, embarked on a transformative fourteen-day expedition in December. There were 16 students and one teacher who participated in the camp.<br></p><p>The Winter Camp were hosted by the China Center for Language Education and Cooperation (CLEC), which plays a key role in promoting the development of international Chinese language education and strengthen Chinese-foreign humanistic exchanges. As such, the overall aim of the visit was to meet the needs of overseas youths to learn Chinese language and culture, and to stimulate their enthusiasm for learning.</p><p>Upon their arrival, the group was welcomed by Xiamen University's  vice dean of Chinese International Education, Gen Hu​</p><p>​<strong>Immersed in both education and culture</strong></p><p>With the theme of "Minnan Heritage", this winter camp covered Chinese language learning, cultural lectures, research experience and other contents, and the campers experienced the charm of Minnan culture from a close distance.</p><p> They visited Beijing and the cities of Xiamen and Quanzhou in Fujian Province for cultural exchanges and study tours, like Chinese food culture, instrument(Guqin), historic building Kulangsu Islet and so on. Visits to iconic landmarks such as the Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall in the snow complemented the experience.​</p><p><strong>Valuable takeaways</strong></p><p>The winter camp in China served as a transformative journey for participants, reshaping perceptions, and deepening cultural appreciation. Here's a synthesis of insights from the diverse group:</p><p>Johnne-Leigh was captivated by iconic landmarks like the forbidden & summer palaces and the Great Wall. His misconceptions about the Chinese were dispelled, highlighting the nation's genuine warmth. Shieka's admiration for the Great Wall and the efficiency of Chinese transport systems underscored the nation's blend of ancient wonders with modernity. Maxine De Lange's enchantment with China's architecture was a common sentiment, with many participants echoing her shift in media perception after experiencing the country firsthand.</p><p>Nina's deep dive into Chinese instruments and culture resonated with others' experiences of confirming positive pre-visit views. Hylton and Chelsea both acknowledged the stark contrast between media portrayals and the vibrant realities they encountered, emphasizing the camp's role in fostering global understanding. Jessica Clarke and Maysoon found immense value in the camp's diverse experiences, with Jessica particularly highlighting China's cleanliness and safety. Kevin Syfert and Tamzin recognized the nuances often overlooked by media, such as China's eco-initiatives and rapid development. Lastly, Thomas's emphasis on Chinese hospitality and the genuine cultural immersion the camp provided was a sentiment echoed by many.</p><p> Overall, the camp emerged as a pivotal experience, with participants unanimously advocating for its transformative impact and considering future engagements with China.​</p><p><br></p>
Robert Kotze honoured for role in Confucius Institute at SUhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=8655Robert Kotze honoured for role in Confucius Institute at SUEngela Duvenage <p>​​​​During a recent virtual event hosted from Beijing, China, Robert Kotze, senior director of Stellenbosch University (SU) International, was awarded a long-service medal in recognition of his involvement in supporting the work of the <a href="http://www0.sun.ac.za/cisu/">Confucius Institute at SU</a> (CISU) for more than a decade. CISU not only conducts extracurricular Chinese training at SU itself, but at schools and institutions in the broader Boland region as well.<br></p><p>Kotze, who serves as the local CISU director, was one of 75 directors worldwide to receive this recognition. His fellow recipients included peers from other African universities in Egypt, Madagascar, Kenya and Rwanda, among others. </p><p>The event was hosted by the Chinese International Education Foundation (CIEF), an international NGO that recently took over the coordination of programmes that promote the Chinese language and culture throughout the world. The initiative sees Chinese universities provide teaching, personnel resources and operational funding to more than a thousand Confucius institutes or classrooms worldwide. </p><p>In his keynote address, CIEF president Prof Yang Wei thanked medal recipients for the way in which they had been supporting Chinese teaching and learning at their respective institutions. Short videos were also shown to highlight the endeavours of various Confucius institutes. </p><p>CISU was established in 2007. Kotze thanked SU's Chinese partner institution, Xiamen University, for their ongoing support since inception, as well as for the honour of having served alongside five enthusiastic and committed Chinese co-directors at SU during this time. Prof Binlan Huang is the current Chinese co-director at CISU. </p><p>First established at SU's Centre for Chinese Studies, CISU moved to SU International in 2009. It provides non-credit-bearing language training at different proficiency levels to SU students as well as members of the broader Stellenbosch community, as well as opportunities to learn more about the Chinese culture. “The main mission is to accommodate people who are interested and willing to learn the Chinese language and understand the culture," Kotze explains.</p><p>CISU also coordinates a range of enrichment programmes at 14 schools in and around Stellenbosch and elsewhere in the Boland, such as Kylemore Secondary and Worcester Gymnasium. “I believe CISU's contribution is meaningful and opens up new worlds to the learners," Kotze says. “It has also allowed the University to forge relationships with these local schools."</p><p>In addition, its involvement with the Confucius Institute has enabled SU to strengthen its academic network in China. Over the years, the University has facilitated many summer and winter camps for learners and students, as well as the compulsory semester exchange to China for Chinese Language honours students as part of their graduate programme. “The Confucius Institute's work is grounded in broader academic collaborations to ensure that links between universities remain rooted in their respective scientific endeavours."</p><p>His work with the Confucius Institute has also been beneficial from a personal growth perspective, Kotze says. “It has given me many opportunities to visit China and learn more about various aspects of Chinese culture and history. Apart from training and capacity-building opportunities, the programmes always include rich cultural activities. Going to Beijing is always a special experience, and my visits to Zhangjiajie and the Terracotta Soldiers in Xi'an are also lifelong memories."</p><ul><li>For more information about the Confucius Institute at SU, visit www.sun.ac.za/cisu.<br></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
Contextualising China’s Role in Global Governance http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9968Contextualising China’s Role in Global Governance Marlo van Wyk<p>​Harmony, China's most cherished social value, excellently mirrors the social impact of rationale, propriety, and compatibility; three characteristics that can be seen reflected within the key objectives of global governance.<br></p><p>With China emerging as a noticeable entity in global governance and striving to establish its centrality in this international system, it is also commemorating 25 years of diplomatic relations with South Africa. Prof. Qingxiu Bu, an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Sussex, recently observed an importance of developing a better understanding of China's contribution to global challenges and affairs, significantly in the context of China-South Africa relations.</p><p>During an academic visit to Stellenbosch University on 10 – 23 April 2023, Prof. Bu presented this observation to a public audience through a series of lectures and seminars hosted by the Confucius Institute at Stellenbosch University.</p><p>The key objective of Prof. Bu's lecture series were to deepen a public understanding on critical themes such as transnational threats, global governance, and multilateralism. Within a series of six engaging lectures, it has been Prof. Bu's aim to clarify and present China's developing role in global governance through providing seminar-style information sessions that would prompt candid exchanges and discussions between audiences.</p><p>Furthermore, by contextualising Sino-Africa's increasing development in political, economic, technical, scientific, and socio-cultural domains, a common theme of building a social consensus for future globalisation was projected. This lecture series, however, was not only designed for achieving a deepened understanding of China's role in global governance, but also to provide a space for public audiences to actively engage and respond to cutting-edge global challenges that arise in the Sino-African context. </p><p>In collaboration with the Confucius Institute at Stellenbosch University, Prof Bu's lectures enabled various audiences to discuss innovative ways that aim to promote prosperous and inclusive international collaboration in a post-pandemic era; and in turn promote global harmony. <br><br></p><p>​<br></p>
Celebrating 15 years of promoting Chinese language and culturehttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9576Celebrating 15 years of promoting Chinese language and cultureDaniel Bugan<p>​The Confucius Institute at Stellenbosch University (CISU) recently celebrated its 15-year anniversary.<br></p><p>The Institute is a non-profit public institution that aims to promote Chinese language and culture. Following the successes of Germany, France, Spain, and the UK to promote their national languages, China decided in 2004 to do the same by establishing Confucius Institutes with offices all over the globe. The headquarters are in Beijing.  ​<br></p><p>CISU has been located in Stellenbosch University International (SUI) since 2007 and offers non-credit-bearing courses to SU students and staff and schools in and around Stellenbosch in partnership with the Xiamen University.<br></p><p>The anniversary celebrations, which took place at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) on 8 November, drew guests from the Chinese Consulate in Cape Town, the Chinese Embassy, Confucius Institutes from across South Africa and Africa, SU students and staff, as well as teachers from participating schools.<br></p><p>Robert Kotze, Senior Director of SUI and South African Co-Director of CISU, said the 15-year anniversary is testament not only to SU's commitment to internationalisation but also to its efforts to bring internationalisation to the community.<br></p><p>“CISU contributes a lot to extra-mural programmes at the schools in the community and through that we bring international experience to the learners at the different schools. The Institute also contributes to and supports collaboration at an academic level. My focus is to make a difference in the lives of students and staff and through the Institute I can do just that."<br></p><p>He said future plans for CISU include increasing their staff complement in order to reach more schools, to host more in-person cultural events and to attract more visiting arts and cultural influence from China.<br></p><p>Prof Huang Binlan, Chinese Co-Director of CISU, said: “During the past 15 years we've had good interaction with students on the SU campus and learners from the schools in the community and they have greatly benefitted from our cultural programmes."<br></p><p>Tang Chang'an, Acting Consul General of the Chinese Consulate in Cape Town, congratulated CISU for its role in promoting Chinese teaching, cultural activities and people-to-people communication between China and South Africa.<br></p><p>“Expressing cultural exchanges is an important means to promote mutual understanding and to enhance feelings between the two countries. In this regard I believe that CISU and all the Confucius Institutes will play a big role."<br></p><p><strong>Ambassador's Award</strong><br></p><p> The celebrations also featured the inaugural Ambassador's Award for the best CISU essay. The award went to BA (international studies) student Samantha Cox. The contest required participants to write essays that strengthen the friendship between South Africa and China, increase South African youth's understanding of China's recent development and promote South Africa-China people-to-people exchanges.</p><p> Cox's essay focused on poverty alleviation, exploring China's successful efforts in this regard and comparing it to what South Africa is doing in that space. It also focused on what South Africa can learn from China's poverty alleviation efforts and how a partnership can be mutually beneficial.</p><p>“It's huge!" she said of the award. “My journey with Chinese started three years ago. What was initially an accidental choice, became such a huge part of my life and I could not have imagined the past three years without Chinese as a language and a culture. I've learnt so much from both my teachers and my studies. To see that rewarded in such a tangible way means the world to me."<br></p><p>First prize went to Lola Meyer and Elizabeth Visser, while Cassandra Barker and Gosego Dibate scooped second prize. Third prize was shared by Tomo Daiber, Cole Baker, Du Toit van der Merwe and Kgothatso Martin Mkabela.<br></p><p>The Ambassador Award will be up for grabs in 2023 once more.<br></p><p><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/CONFUCIUS%20(CISU)22-2.jpg" alt="CONFUCIUS (CISU)22-2.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:865px;" /> </p><p>(<span class="ms-rteFontSize-1">Photo: Delegates attending celebration</span>)</p><p><br></p>
SU Student Takes First Prize in “the 21st Chinese Bridge Proficiency Competitionhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9239SU Student Takes First Prize in “the 21st Chinese Bridge Proficiency CompetitionProfessor Binlan Huang<p>​​The Confucius Institute at Stellenbosch University (CISU) received news yesterday that one of the university’s very own students, Iola Meyer, won first place in the 21st Chinese Bridge Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students in South Africa, an internationally hailed Chinese proficiency competition! This marks the first time in five years that Stellenbosch University is bestowed this honour. <br></p><div><br></div><div>Hosted by the Chinese Embassy of South Africa at the University of Johannesburg, it was attended by some big names, including His Excellency Chen Xiaodong (Chinese Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of South Africa), Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala (Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg), Prof. Huang Wei (President of Asia Pacific Engineering Federation and Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences), Mr Tang Zhongdong (Consul General of Chinese Consulate General in Johannesburg), Mr Li Xudong (Education Counsellor, Chinese Embassy in South Africa) and Mr Chen Kan (Deputy General Manager of Huawei South Africa). </div><div><br></div><div>The significance of the Chinese Bridge Competition is two-fold. As many would attest, language lies at the heart of a culture and thus broadens the horizons of those who seek to learn it. These insights bring secondary benefits in that they facilitate exchange and cooperation between the people of China and South Africa.</div><div><br></div><div>The theme of this year’s event was aptly named "One World, One Family" and was live-streamed. All 6 Confucius Institutes and 2 Confucius Classrooms around the country watched in anticipation as their students strived to do their best in the three areas: 1. a written test (general knowledge test), 2. a speech (speaking test), and 3. Talent show (dramatic or artistic performance). Much to the excitement of the CISU, Iola Meyer achieved full marks in the written component, charmed the judges with her shadow puppet rendition of "Chang'e Flying to the Moon" and was awarded “The Huawei Cup”. </div><div><br></div><div>Iola Meyer, Chinese name “Mei Xiaoai”, expressed her thanks to her teachers both at CISU and at SU’s Department of Modern Foreign Languages. She adds, “even if you don't come first, you will definitely still 'win' in experience”. </div><div><br></div><div>The CISU hopes that the students of South Africa continue to avail themselves of this wonderful opportunity in years to come. It can only enrich us all, and truly bring about "One World, One Family".</div><div><br>​<br></div><p>​<br></p>
Students and learners from Stellenbosch and surrounds shine in 2023 SA Chinese Bridge contesthttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10039Students and learners from Stellenbosch and surrounds shine in 2023 SA Chinese Bridge contestMikaela Keen <p>​Over the past few months, students from Stellenbosch University (SU) and learners from the Cape Winelands district excelled in the South African round of the annual Chinese Bridge competition organised by the Confucius Institute at SU (CISU). This Chinese speaking and performance competition has dedicated divisions for university students, secondary school and primary school learners. It serves as a platform for foreigners to showcase their Chinese language proficiency and cultural understanding.<br></p><p>The 22<sup>nd</sup> edition of the competition for university students was hosted in Durban towards the end of May. The first to be held in face-to-face mode post-pandemic, the event saw 14 participants from six Confucius Institutes across South Africa gather to compete under the theme “One world, one family". SU students Samantha Cox and Greta Frieslaar kept the Maties flag flying high by securing second place. This achievement also earned them the opportunity to participate in the 2023 Chinese Bridge summer camp in China.</p><p>Samantha's speech, “Home", shared her personal journey of learning Chinese during the pandemic. Her performance combined Chinese dance with a recitation of a poem from the Song dynasty. Greta, in turn, spoke about the value of studying Chinese in her speech, “Encountering Chinese, encountering the world", and performed a dance deeply rooted in Chinese culture.</p><p>In mid-June, secondary school learners from South Africa got their chance to showcase their Chinese skills at the 16<sup>th</sup> edition of their national competition. Eleven participants from five Confucius Institutes and high schools nationwide came together at the event hosted in Cape Town. Isabelle Goussard from Stellenbosch High School and Dané Taylor from Kylemore High School made the Cape Winelands area proud by emerging as overall winners. Isabelle's performance involved a speech on Chinese painting, and playing the kuaiban, a traditional Chinese percussion instrument. Dané shared with the audience her childhood fascination with Chinese Kung Fu movies, re-enacted classic scenes from the well-known Chinese book <em>Dream of Red Chamber</em>, and performed Chinese opera.</p><p>The more recently introduced division for primary school learners, scheduled for the same day as the secondary school competition, attracted 17 contestants from across the country. The top spot in this third edition of the contest went to Caryn Cornelius and Kiron Roberts, both from the CISU Confucius Classroom at Cloetesville-based Rietenbosch Primary School. </p><p>Through the Chinese Bridge competition and other initiatives, CISU continues to promote the Chinese language and culture among Stellenbosch students and learners, thereby fostering a deeper interest in Chinese language studies and strengthening cultural exchange and friendship between South Africa and China.<br><br></p><p>​<br></p>
The Confucius Classroom at Worcester Gymnasium School Held the "China in My Eyes" Cultural Eventhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6974The Confucius Classroom at Worcester Gymnasium School Held the "China in My Eyes" Cultural EventCISU<p>On October 21, the Confucius Classroom at Worcester Gymnasium School, under the Confucius Institute at Stellenbosch University, held the “China in My Eyes” cultural sharing event, which attracts many teachers, students and local people.<br></p><p>The event was started by the beautiful Chinese umbrella dance, and the audience gave warm applause to the wonderful performances of the girls. In the next part, two students who participated in the summer camp in June this year shared their two-week experience in China. They took Chinese classes at the beautiful Xiamen University and visited in a romantic piano island – Gulangyu. The guests were amazed at the rich schedule of the summer camp and expressed their hope to participate next year.</p><p>At the event, Confucius Classroom teacher Wang Yaqi introduced China's traditional culture: four inventions, geodetic instruments, Chinese characters and calligraphy, etc., and introduced the new four major inventions of modern China (shared bicycles, high-speed rail, scan code payment and online shopping). The audience were amazed at the modernization and convenience of contemporary Chinese life and lamented the rapid development of China's 70-year history. Then Confucius Classroom teacher Xie Mengning brought a speech on China's modern tourist city Xiamen, Beijing and Shanghai. The three cities are different in style: Xiamen is fresh and playful, Beijing is traditional and modern, Shanghai is romantic and modern. Different geographical and cultural environments have created unique city. The audience hope they could have the opportunity to travel to China and experience different Chinese cultures.</p><p>The “China in My Eyes” cultural sharing event provided a wonderful experience for South African students and the public about Chinese traditional culture and contemporary Chinese status, and also established platform between the Chinese and African people to communicate with each other. The China-Africa Friendship Association will continue to deepen and revitalize under our efforts.​<br></p><p><br></p>
CISU joins embassy’s 2022 Chinese New Year’s eventhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=8912CISU joins embassy’s 2022 Chinese New Year’s eventConfucius Institute at Stellenbosch University<p>​On 28 January 2022, the Chinese embassy in South Africa hosted a <a href="https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/J0RpwuSvBwCG6I8heRsrug">virtual Chinese New Year's event</a> to bid farewell to the 'Year of the Ox' and usher in the 'Year of the Tiger'. At the invitation of the embassy, the Confucius Institute at Stellenbosch University (CISU) recorded a video with New Year's greetings (screenshot alongside), which was screened as part of the celebrations.<br></p><p>Having been held for the past ten years, the New Year's event is a joyous occasion where the development of China-South Africa relations and the deepening friendship between the two nations are celebrated. This year, best wishes were also sent for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, which commenced on 4 February.<br></p><p> In his address, ambassador Chen Xiaodong extended sincere New Year's greetings to all fellow Chinese, Chinese institutions, the students and staff of Confucius Institutes, as well as to friends from all walks of life in South Africa. President Cyril Ramaphosa had also recorded a video message to honour the China-South Africa friendship, while Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, delivered a speech. ​</p><p>​<br></p>
Festival Overture by National Orchestra Academia China http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9143Festival Overture by National Orchestra Academia China Huang Binlan<p><span style="font-size:13px;">​​To ring in the new year, musicians around the globe have prepared something quite special.​  Using a variety of instruments from around the world, they perform the Chinese “Festival Overture”. As you will hear, the music is lively, catchy, and full of the festive atmosphere so typical of Chinese celebrations. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsuwx_lyJmU"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Take a listen</span>!​</a></span><br></p>
CISU 2023 school education delegation gets inspiration in Chinahttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10310CISU 2023 school education delegation gets inspiration in ChinaCISU<p>​The 2023 Chinese Bridge school education delegation to China, jointly organised by the Confucius Institute at Stellenbosch University (CISU) and Xiamen University, embarked on a transformative ten-day expedition in September. Hailing from the Cape Winelands education district, the diverse delegation (pictured below) included the district director, Jeanette Harker, along with principals and subject heads from Rhenish Girls’ High, Stellenbosch High, Makupula Secondary, Worcester Gymnasium, Kylemore High as well as Rhenish, Eikestad and Rietenbosch primary schools.<br></p><p>The delegates were hosted by the China Center for Language Education and Cooperation (CLEC), which plays a key role in promoting Chinese language and culture teaching outside China. As such, the overall aim of the visit was to provide assistance to South African institutions that were willing to initiate or promote Chinese learning projects, and to establish language exchange partnerships between Chinese and South African schools.</p><p>Upon their arrival, the group was welcomed by Xiamen University's dean of Chinese International Education, Chen Zhiwei.<br></p><strong>Immersed in both education and culture</strong><p>The visit was a blend of education and culture. Delegates had the opportunity to explore various facets of China's education system. Visits to schools such as the First Middle School of Tong'an District and the Experimental Chinese School showcased pedagogical approaches, curriculum design and classroom practices. These interactions offered valuable insight into how China's approach to education could help meet the needs and challenges faced in South African education.</p><p>The delegation also delved into the rich Chinese culture with lectures on the art and history of tea, Chinese traditional medicine, and acupuncture. Visits to iconic landmarks such as the Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall complemented the experience.</p><p><strong>Valuable takeaways</strong></p><p>Judging by delegates' feedback, the experience was transformative at all levels. According to Tertia Jefthas, Kylemore High principal, China's rich history and vibrant cultural celebrations hold valuable lessons for South Africans, emphasising the significance of instilling a sense of belonging among learners. Worcester Gymnasium deputy principal Riaan Loubscher, in turn, returned to South Africa inspired to support Mandarin education both at his school and in the broader community. </p><p>To Rika Kroon, acting principal of Rhenish Girls' High, the trip expanded her understanding of Chinese culture and highlighted the disparities between China's reality and how it is often portrayed in South Africa.</p><p>District director Harker found that the visit to the First Middle School of Tong'an District, which has 10 000 learners and 200 educators, offered important insights into teaching practices in larger classes and the beneficial use of e-learning tools. Another important takeaway from the trip, Harker says, was the importance of a balanced approach to education, with China maintaining a physical education routine of at least two hours per day, which is in line with South Africa's educational goals. In addition, she was struck by the clear expectations for different languages and dialects to coexist, which aligns with South Africa's efforts to accommodate diversity. </p><p>The delegation returned with a renewed dedication to promoting global understanding and cooperation through education. </p><p>* <em>For more on CISU and its initiatives, go to </em><a href="/english/confucius-institute"><em>http://www.sun.ac.za/english/confucius-institute</em></a><em>.</em></p><p> </p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p>​​<br></p>