By Dr. Shi Xueqin, Chinese Director and International Faculty, Confucius Institute, UP Diliman
Xiamen in early winter is as warm as spring. Guests from the Philippines are enchanted by Xiamen’s pleasant climate and beautiful cultural environment. Lai Hongkai, former deputy secretary of the Party Committee of Xiamen University, deputy director of the school board, and vice chairman of the Alumni Association, welcomed the Philippine delegation on behalf of Xiamen University. At the welcome ceremony, he fully affirmed the efforts and contributions of the Confucius Institute at the University of the Philippines in promoting international Chinese education and fostering cultural and educational exchanges between China and the Philippines. He hoped that the Confucius Institute at the University of the Philippines would actively play a role as a bridge and link to facilitate academic exchanges and cooperation between the two universities, making more contributions.
During the welcoming ceremony, Xiamen University also held a ceremony to award the Meritorious Award for Outstanding Long Service as Confucius Institute Foreign Director to Dr. Lourdes Tanhueco-Nepomuceno. Dr. Tanhueco-Nepomuceno was deeply moved and expressed her commitment to continuing to work hard to run the Confucius Institute at the University of the Philippines successfully.
The highlight of this trip to Xiamen was the inspection of Xiamen University’s “Jia Geng” scientific research vessel. On June 8 this year, Professor Wang Haili, the person in charge of the scientific research vessel “Kah Kee,” accompanied the delegation of the president of Xiamen University to visit the University of the Philippines and presented a model of the “Kah Kee” to the president of the University of the Philippines. This gesture sparked strong interest from the president of the University of the Philippines, who expressed the desire to visit the “Jia Geng.”
On November 29, Filipino educators visited the scientific research ship “Jiageng” and were warmly received by Professor Wang Haili. Professor Wang provided a detailed overview of the “Kah Kee” and the scientific expedition plan to the delegation. He expressed the hope for future cooperation with the University of the Philippines in conducting joint scientific expeditions and marine research along the Maritime Silk Road. Leo Cubillan and Iryn Y. Balmores, Vice Presidents of the University of the Philippines, responded positively to Professor Wang’s proposal and expressed their commitment to working hard to promote exchanges and cooperation between the University of the Philippines and Xiamen University in the field of marine scientific research and research.
The School of International Relations of Xiamen University is an important center for Southeast Asian studies in China and has a long history of exchanges with the University of the Philippines. The delegation visited the School of International Relations for a discussion and received a warm reception from GAO Yan jie, the leader of the School of International Relations, and Zhang Miao, the Vice Dean.
Dr. Imee Martinez, head of the International Office of the University of the Philippines, focused on the international cooperation projects of the University of the Philippines and expressed the hope for more academic visits and exchanges between Xiamen University and the University of the Philippines. Vice President GAO Yan jie also expressed the hope to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the University of the Philippines and conduct more research on the Philippines. Dr. Tanhueco-Nepomuceno, fondly recalled her interactions with Xiamen University, from co-founding the Confucius Institute to student exchanges, especially the story of her daughter Amanda studying and growing up in the School of International Relations at Xiamen University, which fully reflects the results and significance of educational exchanges between China and the Philippines.
While in Xiamen, the Philippine delegation also visited Xiamen Nanyang College and the Philippine Consulate General in Xiamen. At Nanyang College, the Philippine delegation inspected the development of private vocational colleges in Xiamen, and the two sides exchanged views on possible cooperation prospects in the field of vocational education. CG Maria Antonia M. Mendoza-Oblena, Consul General of the Philippines in Xiamen, hosted a lunch to welcome the Philippine delegation and provided a detailed introduction to the history of the Philippine Consulate in Xiamen and Fujian’s unique position and role in Sino-Philippine exchanges.
On November 30, the Philippine delegation left Xiamen for a visit to Beijing. While in Beijing, the delegation visited the Department of Filipino Language, School of Foreign Languages, Peking University, and received a warm reception from the teachers and students of the Department. At the symposium, Peking University teachers, students, and Filipino guests introduced themselves and communicated in Filipino, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie.
Associate Professor Shi Yang, director of the Department of Philippine Languages at Peking University, introduced the development history, teaching, and research status of the Department of Philippine Languages, as well as Sino-Philippine language cooperation projects to the Filipino guests. Dr. Imee from the International Office of the University of the Philippines introduced the history and international cooperation projects of the University of the Philippines and expressed the hope for more academic exchanges between the University of the Philippines and Peking University. Professor Elyxzur C. Ramos, president of the University of Makati, also introduced vocational higher education in the Philippines, expressing the hope for multi-level and multi-field exchanges and cooperation between China and the Philippines.
While in Beijing, the Philippine delegation also visited the Philippine Embassy in China and received a cordial reception from Ambassador Jaime FlorCruz, the Philippine Ambassador to China. Ambassador FlorCruz expressed great pleasure in seeing Filipino educators visiting China and hoped that the Confucius Institute at the University of the Philippines would promote more educational cooperation and exchanges between China and the Philippines, especially in the fields of agriculture, manufacturing, and other areas. He encouraged learning from China’s advanced technology to cultivate better talents for the Philippines.
On December 3, the delegation of Filipino educators successfully concluded their visit to China and left Beijing to return to the Philippines. Members of the delegation expressed deep impressions of the visit, stating that they gained valuable insights that deepened their knowledge and understanding of Chinese history, culture, and higher education. They hope that more Filipino educators will visit China in the future to strengthen educational, cultural, and academic exchanges between China and the Philippines, promoting people-to-people connectivity and laying a solid foundation for the friendly development of China-Philippines relations.
Text and pictures | Shi Xueqin
Editor | Yang Guang Xie Lili
Review | Shi Xueqin