Less than three years after it began operations, the Confucius Institute (CI) at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus has captured the prestigious global Confucius Institute of the Year Award.
The honour was bestowed on Tuesday during the 12th annual Confucius Institute Global Conference in Xi’an China by the China-based Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters, which has oversight for more than 500 institutes and over 1,000 Confucius classrooms worldwide.
The award was presented by Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong during the opening ceremony of the conference which brings together thousands of representatives from Confucius Institutes, partner universities and China’s Ministry of Education.
In receiving the award, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Cave Hill, Professor Eudine Barriteau said “it represents both recognition of the work the University and the Institute have been doing together and an encouragement to achieve more.
“The relationship between the Caribbean and China is of growing importance and the Confucius Institute gives The UWI Cave Hill the tools to equip our students with the language as well as the cultural means to shape this relationship.”
Cave Hill’s Confucius Institute which began operations in April 2015, is the youngest of The UWI’s three such institutions and the youngest ever in the world to gain such recognition. It is also the first time a Confucius Institute in the English-speaking Caribbean has earned the award which recognizes outstanding work during the year.
The Confucius Institute at Cave Hill provides elementary to advanced Chinese courses and imparts knowledge about Chinese history and culture. In May this year, it coordinated and hosted the inaugural regional conference of Caribbean Confucius Institutes held in Bridgetown.
In addition, it has implemented a programme with the Ministry of Education in Barbados to develop teaching in primary and secondary schools and with the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) to develop a Chinese language curriculum for Caribbean schools. To date thousands of students have benefited from CI’s teachings, including hundreds of university students.
Since gaining Chinese proficiency HSK(Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi)testing status in 2016, the Barbados-based Confucius Institute had administered HSK and YCT examinations and is the only site authorized to do so in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. The YCT is an international standardized test for young students.
Professor Barriteau said the Institute’s relevant and innovative work programme aligns perfectly with the internationalization thrust of the Campus and reinforces its core values of integrity, excellence, gender justice, diversity, and student centredness.
Declaring the CI as a crucial partner in the educational planning, delivery and outreach infrastructure of the Cave Hill Campus, she said,“The Confucius Institute enhances the impact of The UWI by building bridges with national and regional communities through the variety of programmes offered and the sheer scale of its activism.”