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Vice-premier calls for further Sino-US exchange in education

Updated: Jun 20,2015 9:38 AM     Xinhua

PITTSBURGH — Vice-Premier Liu Yandong on June 19 stressed on the importance of educational exchange between China and the United States.

Liu made the remarks while visiting the Confucius Institute in the University of Pittsburgh, a prestigious academy of higher education in US state of Pennsylvania.

Exchange between young people of China and US is important to gain more public support and build stronger relations between the two countries, said Liu, who believed languages are embodiment of specific cultures and command of a foreign language means a key to understand the world better and to have a chance to a brighter future.

According to the vice-premier, about more than 300 million people in China are learning English, while some 487 Confucius Institutes and 894 Confucius Classrooms have been established in 133 countries, with more than 3.5 million students enrolled.

In the United States, for instance, there are 107 Confucius Institutes and 451 Confucius Classrooms, enrolling 300,000 students. These facilities have become an important platform for human-to-human exchange programs between China and US.

Liu on June 19 also announced that Chinese government will invite 50 students from Confucius Institute at Pittsburgh University to take part in “Chinese Bridge Summer Camp” in China; offer scholarships for 10 students of the Confucius Institute to study in Chinese universities; and donate 1,000 books and reading materials on Chinese culture to the University of Pittsburgh, which has a history of more than 200 years.

Liu noted that more and more young Chinese people learn English while more and more young Americans choose to study Chinese, which is good for improving cooperation and friendship between peoples of the two countries.

Patrick Gallagher, chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, said the Confucius Institute here has helped students improve their comprehensive language skills and become more competitive in the world.

Dozens of students with the Confucius Institute also staged diverse performances to entertain the audience, including song singing and poem recitals in Chinese.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Pittsburgh was co- founded by Wuhan University and the American university in 2007. So far, the institute has established more than 70 schools with over 300 classes teaching Chinese as a language across Pennsylvania and its surrounding area, with nearly 4,000 students enrolled. Ever since it was founded, the institute has also organized more than 100 lectures, films, cultural shows.

Liu, who arrived here on June 18, also met Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto on June 19 morning. During her stay in the city, she also attended at a ceremony for the 10th anniversary of the Chunhui Cup Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition for Overseas Chinese Students.

After her trip in Pittsburgh, Liu will travel to Houston in the state of Texas on June 21, and then move on to Washington D.C., the US capital, where she and US Secretary of State John Kerry will co-chair the sixth Consultation on People-to-People Exchange scheduled to be held next week.