Key dignitaries lend support to developing links with China


SCOTLAND’S First Minister Alex Salmond and Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming will be among the high-profile guests at an event to celebrate Scottish-Chinese ties.

The European Confucius Institutes & Classroom conference, hosted by the University of Edinburgh, will bring together key stakeholders from Scotland and Europe with presidents of leading Chinese universities, including Fudan, Xiamen, Peking, Renmin and Nankai.

Senior representatives from Chinese embassies and consulates across Europe will also attend the event, beginning on 6 June, which will examine links between the two countries in areas such as education, business, language and culture.

Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, said: “I am delighted that the University of Edinburgh – where I opened Scotland’s first Confucius Institute in 2007 – is hosting this important European conference.

“Scotland and China already share strong economic, cultural and educational links. The excellent work of Confucius Institutes is an increasingly important part of the bonds of friendship and understanding between our nations.

“The Scottish Government is very grateful to Hanban, whose support for the Confucius Institutes – under the leadership of Madam Xu Lin – has proved vital in ensuring their success and driving forward the continued growth of their activities in Scotland.”

At the conference, the University of Edinburgh and Hanban, sponsor of the global network of Confucius Institutes and Classrooms, will also renew their relationship in a signing ceremony that commits both sides to continue to support the Confucius Institute for Scotland.

The memorandum of agreement will be signed by University of Edinburgh Principal, Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, and Mme Xu Lin, Director-General of Hanban, in the presence of Alex Salmond and Liu Xiaoming.

The ceremony will take place at 4.45pm at the Signet Library, Edinburgh, and will be followed by a guest lecture by Dr Jim O’Neill, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and one of the UK’s most well-known economists.

The Confucius Institute for Scotland in the University of Edinburgh is a national centre to promote educational, economic and cultural ties between Scotland and China. The Institute acts as a bridge between Scotland and China, aiding understanding and facilitating engagement.

Set up with Sino-Scottish government backing and partnered with Fudan University in Shanghai, the centre is one of almost 350 across the world.

The Confucius Institute for Scotland has received the accolade of Institute of Excellence every year since opening in 2007, and a special gold medal award for Outstanding Contribution was given to Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea in January.