His Excellency Mr QIAN Bo, the newly-appointed Ambassador for the People’s Republic of China paid a courtesy visit to The University of the South Pacific (USP) at the Laucala Campus on 6 March 2018.
He was met by Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP and members of the Senior Management Team at the Chancellery Board Room.
Professor Chandra extended a warm welcome to the Ambassador, thanking him for his visit, and stressed the strong relationship between USP and China as a development partner.
He stated that most of the assistance from China at the moment is centered on the University’s Confucius Institute (CI), which was established in 2012.
“It has been a privilege to see our Confucius Institute grow very rapidly and this is testimony to the calibre of the Directors we have had from China and our local Directors including the support by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) and USP in general,” he said.
Professor Chandra said the CI has very recently had its share of awards and in a way, “what began as an experiment for us has grown rapidly, spreading to other countries in the region”.
“Its enrolment continues to grow and they recently won a grant of US$1.7million to create a model CI here. The CI curriculum is also developing quite well with one of the courses being offered online this semester,” he said.
“We can both be satisfied that the CI is providing a very important service through the provision of Chinese language and promoting and understanding Chinese culture. The CI is clearly a crucial partner in China’s growing position in providing investment, assistance and increasingly more trade opportunities for people in the Pacific,” Professor Chandra mentioned.
He also acknowledged the Chinese Government’s support for the expansion of USP’s Emalus Campus when the Vanuatu Government requested the provision of French language classes, including the establishment of a Confucius classroom.
H.E Ambassador QIAN said he was very impressed with the Confucius Institute at USP following his visit and acknowledged the University and its management for their support.
“As the new Ambassador, all my efforts will be focused on promoting friendship between the two countries. This is the relationship China commits to build on with all Pacific island countries,” he said.
He assured that China is a very genuine development partner to Pacific Island countries.
According to His Excellency, USP has played a very important role in promoting sustainable development, regional integration and cooperation and education.
“I wish to wholeheartedly congratulate USP on your achievement for reaching your 50th Anniversary, you have indeed come a long way in promoting regional cooperation,” he noted.
“All achievements made by the University should be attributed to the strong leadership of Professor Chandra and your Senior Management Team (SMT), and it is indeed a great opportunity to celebrate.
“Educating people is so important, it takes a lot of time and your contribution will surely produce fruitful results on generations to come,” he noted.
H.E Ambassador QIAN mentioned that China has provided more than 800 scholarships to the region, “so our relationship with the region is one of strategic partnership, featuring mutual respect and common development”.
He stated that although there might be reservations against China, there is a need to work together for the betterment of everyone and to achieve a win-win solution.
Professor Chandra mentioned that the Ambassador’s reinforcement of education being the foundation for good development, reflects the views of the University.
He added that China’s approach in working together for a common good is similar to USP’s stand in working with its member countries and stakeholders for the betterment of the region.
He also thanked the Ambassador for his commitment to ensure that China will continue to engage strongly with the University.
Areas of future collaboration were also discussed and the Ambassador said he will revert to the University after discussions with his headquarters.
The Ambassador also took time out to visit the Confucius Institute as part of his visit.