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OU launches world’s first Online Confucius Institute

Red Chinese lanterns hang from above

The OU has today (Friday 13 May 2022) launched the world’s first Online Confucius Institute (OCI) in partnership with Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU). Housed within the WELS School of Languages and Applied Linguistics, the Online Confucius Institute at The Open University is a non-profit educational partnership between the OU and BFSU. The OCI will provide a range of opportunities for students, researchers, teachers and the wider professional community to engage with Chinese language and cultures, develop their intercultural understanding, and advance knowledge.

Professor Tim Blackman, Open University Vice-Chancellor, said: “The Online Confucius Institute will bring together the strengths of both our institutions, reaching and inspiring people from many different backgrounds - who might not otherwise have the opportunity - so they can learn Chinese and explore the fascinating and rich complexity of Chinese cultures.”

The OU’s expertise in supported distance education will enable the OCI to deliver courses at scale in Chinese language and cultures, as well as virtual events, research, and outreach workshops in our communities. The Institute’s ambition is that through learning, discussing, debating, and reflecting, new insight and better understanding will be fostered, and barriers are broken down between people in the West and in China.

Professor YANG Dan, President of Beijing Foreign Studies University, said in his congratulatory message to the Institute:We are witnessing our first Online Confucius Institute. I am convinced that it will widen and deepen the co-operation in language education, and cultural exchange between our two universities and our two countries.”

Dr KAN Qian, UK Director of the Online Confucius Institute at The Open University, said: “Now more than ever, it is important for people in the West and East to understand one another. I am looking forward to collaborating with the prestigious Beijing Foreign Studies University on this exciting journey. This is just the first step, as Confucius famously said, ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’.”


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