Universität Heidelberg Opens Confucius Institute
Chinese ambassador attended the opening ceremony
The Confucius Institute at Heidelberg University was officially opened at a ceremony on 20 April 2010 in the presence of the Chinese Ambassador of the People's Republic of China in Germany, Wu Hongbo. The mission of the Institute, established with support from the Chinese government, is to encourage academic cooperation and cultural dialogue and to foster the knowledge of the Chinese language, history and culture in Germany. The Shanghai Jiao Tong University is the partner at the university level in China. The City of Heidelberg as well as the business and industrial community in the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region are supporting the project. The opening ceremony marked the beginning of Chinese Weeks at Heidelberg University.
The Heidelberg Confucius Institute will offer language courses for a variety of target groups. Alongside support for Sino-German research projects and academic events geared notably to cultural studies, history and the social sciences, the Institute will offer seminars, courses and conferences on Chinese culture. Furthermore, events informing their audiences about China’s past and present are planned. Training and ongoing education offerings plus consultancy services for companies and organisations are designed to advance economic relations between Germany and China. The Heidelberg Institute will establish networks and perform service functions for the entire Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region.
Heidelberg University has entertained cooperative relations with an increasing number of Chinese universities since the early 1980s. In addition, there are numerous connections and partnerships of economic and cultural nature in the Metropolitan Region. In July 2009, Heidelberg University and the Office of Chinese Language Council International (HANBAN) – the umbrella organisation for the Confucius Institutes worldwide under the aegis of the Chinese Ministry of Education – agreed to establish such an institution in Heidelberg. To this end, a funding body was founded in September last year in which the university, the City of Heidelberg and various companies and individuals play an active role. The Confucius Institutes perform a similar function to the German Goethe Institutes. Among the 290 institutes throughout the world, 12 are located in Germany.
At the opening ceremony speeches were held by the Chinese ambassador, Heidelberg’s mayor, Dr. Eckart Würzner and the Rector of Heidelberg University, Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel following the welcome address by Dr. Klaus Grimm, Managing Director of the Confucius Institute. The keynote lecture on “Be elevated by poetry, consolidated by rites, perfected by music. On Confucius, art and music” was delivered by Prof. Dr. Barbara Mittler, Director of Heidelberg University’s Institute of Sinology and chairperson of the funding body for the new Institute. Stuttgart music student Guo Ziyuan has composed a piece named “Lu Yun – Sounds from the Home of Confucius” especially for the ceremony.