The Confucius Institute in Helsinki will begin operations in autumn

The University of Helsinki signs a co-operation agreement with a Chinese university.

Ilkka Niiniluoto and Mrs Ma Keqing Ilkka Niiniluoto, Rector of the University of Helsinki, and the Chinese Ambassador, H.E. Mrs Ma Keqing, have signed an agreement on the establishment of a Confucius Institute at the University of Helsinki.

The University of Helsinki and the Renmin University in Beijing signed a co-operation agreement at the end of May on the establishment of a Confucius Institute to operate within the Renvall Institute, in the Faculty of Arts.

According to Rector Ilkka Niiniluoto, the aim of the Institute is to strengthen the teaching of the Chinese language and about Chinese society and culture at the University of Helsinki. Moreover, the objective is to increase general knowledge on China and to promote joint research projects. The Institute will also serve as a central information point on China.

“The Confucius Institute will play a strong national role and its activities will benefit all Finnish universities and society at large,” says Niiniluoto.

One of the leading universities of China, the Renmin University, will assign three visiting teachers and researchers annually to the Institute. The Chinese will also donate library material consisting of 3,000 volumes. The University of Helsinki will be responsible for covering the costs of administration and premises. The Ministry of Education has granted the University of Helsinki additional funding for the Institute.

The Chinese Ambassador to Finland, H.E. Mrs Ma Keqing, considers the establishment of the Confucius Institute of great importance.

“An increasing number of Finns are interested in the Chinese language and culture,” says H.E. Mrs Ma Keqing.

The letter of intent on the establishment of the Institute was signed by the University of Helsinki and the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) of the Chinese Ministry of Education during the ASEM summit hosted last autumn by Finland.

Since 2004, as many as 149 Confucius Institutes, which are partly funded by the Chinese government, have been established throughout the world, the nearest ones to Helsinki being those in St Petersburg and Stockholm. The Institute in Helsinki will begin operations in autumn 2007.

Text: Marjo Mansikka
Photo: Eero Roine
Translation: Valtasana Oy

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