Opening of Confucius Institute

Furthers Hebrew University’s Internationalization and Relations With China

The Vice Prime-Minister of The People’s Republic of China, Mme. Liu Yandong, led a delegation of senior ministers and university presidents to The Hebrew University of Jerusalem yesterday, to participate in the Opening Ceremony of a new Confucius Institute at The Hebrew University.

The Confucius Institute will promote the deepening of academic research into Chinese culture and history; serve the wider community through seminars on China’s society, economy and government for Israeli government officials, civil servants and business executives; and enhance mutual understanding between Israel and China.

The Chinese delegation included senior ministers and university presidents, who met with the leadership of The Hebrew University and leaders of Israeli universities and academia. Taking place at The Hebrew University’s Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, the meetings were followed by a festive ceremony featuring Israeli and Chinese poetry, song and dance.

Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson, president of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said: “A Confucius Institute begins with Chinese culture and language, but it also connects us to a network of 400 such Institutes around the world. It enables those who study Chinese to be connected to China, but most of all it creates a future of relations between countries and institutes of higher education and science.”

Mme. Liu Yandong, the Vice Prime-Minister of The People’s Republic of China, said: “The Hebrew University is a symbol of the renaissance of the Jewish people in its original land. In particular, this university is renowned in such areas as mathematics, physics, computer sciences and economics, and you have cultivated a galaxy of excellent people, including 8 Nobel laureates.”

She continued, “Peking University and The Hebrew University will work together and succeed in building a research-oriented Confucius Institute, and this will serve as an important platform for young Israeli people to learn the Chinese language and get a better understanding of China. And I believe it will play an important role in promoting the friendly ties between our two countries.” She added, “I believe this Confucius Institute will prove to be the best one around the world”.

Mme. Yandong also announced several gifts to Israel on behalf of The headquarters of the Confucius Institute: an invitation for 100 students from Israel to come to China for the Chinese Bridge summer camp; the contribution of 3000 copies of Chinese-language materials and cultural reading materials to The Hebrew University’s Confucius Institute; and a commitment to send 500 college students to study in Israel and provide 100 scholarships to Israeli college students over the next five years.

Delivering pre-recorded greetings were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Professor Robert J. (Yisrael) Aumann, winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics, who teaches at The Hebrew University’s Center for Rationality.