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The Confucius Institute of Antigua and Barbuda will be extended for another five years as per the agreement signed between the governments of Antigua and Barbuda and the People’s Republic of China.
The Institute has been instrumental in teaching Mandarin, the main Chinese language, in two secondary schools in Antigua and Barbuda, and elsewhere. Currently, Mandarin is being taught at the Sir Novelle Richards Academy (SNRA) and the Glanvilles Secondary School.
Listine Bradshaw, Principal of SNRA, announced that the school program will now include the teaching of Kung Fu, the Chinese martial arts, aimed at benefiting the body and mind of practitioners.
Zhang Yanling, Resident Ambassador to St. John’s, praised Antigua and Barbuda for being a pioneer in its relationship with the People’s Republic of China. She noted that Antigua and Barbuda is the first Eastern Caribbean country to establish diplomatic ties with China and the first to join the Belt and Road Initiative.
Antigua and Barbuda is also the first to set up a Confucius Institute in the region. Ambassador Zhang emphasized that the CIAB has been focusing on enhancing communication and understanding between friends through the Chinese language of Mandarin.
She expressed her appreciation for the CIAB’s continuous contributions to the successful arrangements of the “Chinese Bridge” Mandarin proficiency competition for three consecutive years, as well as to other friendly bilateral activities.
At the signing ceremony held at SNRA, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Senator Shenella Govia, expressed gratitude to the ambassador from the government and the people of Antigua and Barbuda for their support in establishing a branch of the Confucius Institute in the country.
Senator Govia noted that language is an essential aspect of development and expressed happiness
that students now have the opportunity to learn Mandarin. She was pleased that the program began at SNRA and Glanvilles, which gives a boost to the relatively new educational institutions.
The agreement was signed by Senator Govia, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Head of the CIAB, Gayle Greene-Phillip, Director of the Harrison Centre, Antigua and Barbuda Institution of Continuing Education, Arlene Weste, and Professor Cao Renging of the Confucius Institute at the Zhejiang International Studies University.
During the presentation, two students who are part of the Mandarin program, Joanna Humphreys and Olia Campbell, sang a song in Mandarin, and Dr. Wu Wei gave a Kung Fu demonstration.