Ventspils Unviersity College Visited by Representatives from Confucius Institute


An introductory visit from the representatives of the Confucius Institute, the director prof. Pēteris Pildegovičs, director prof. Shang Quanyu, secretary Laura Zātiņa and teacher Dong Fang, took place at Ventspils University College (VUC) on Tuesday, September 12. The meeting was also attended by the newest addition to the VUC academic staff, teacher Ling Pan, who is going to teach “Chinese Basics” and “Chinese Society, Culture and Traditions” to VUC students and pupils of Ventspils secondary schools. The guests were welcomed by the Vice Rector for Studies Raita Rollande, Assistant Professor and director of the study programme “Languages and Intercultural Communication” Vita Balama, Dean of the Faculty of Translation Studies Guntars Dreijers and Foreign Affairs Specialist Rasa Zālīte.

Prof. Pēteris Pildegovičs, simultaneously interpreting for prof. Shang Quanyu and also adding his own point of view, introduced the members of the meeting with the origins, core activities, possibilities and future plans of the Confucius Institute at the University of Latvia (LUCI). Prof. Pēteris Pildegovičs has been one of the directors of LUCI since its founding in November of 2011. He was also one of the first sinologists in Latvia, for many years has worked as a Chinese language teacher and for more than 50 years has fostered the relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Latvia.

During the meeting, prof. Pēteris Pidlegovičs informed that currently 14 teachers from China are employed in Latvia, 12 of which are teachers-volunteers. In China, teacher is a highly respected profession, which is why LUCI are keener on using the term teacher than lecturer. VUC teacher Ling Pan is also one of the 12 teachers-volunteers. Up to now, LUCI has opened Chinese Programme at LUCI Headquarters (Academic Library of the University of Latvia), Confucius Classroom at Riga Culture Secondary School, Confucius Classroom at Daugavpils University, Confucius Classroom at Rezekne Academy of Technologies, Chinese Programme at Riga Secondary School No. 34, Chinese Programme at Transport and Telecommunication Institute, Chinese Programme at Latvia University of Agriculture, and Chinese Programme at Jelgava Spīdola Gymnasium. In addition, LUCI cooperates with Chinese Programme of the Department of Asian Studies at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Latvia. However, VUC is the first educational establishment in the western part of Latvia to offer the possibility to study the basics of the Chinese language, as well as become acquainted with Chinese society, culture and traditions. During the meeting, VUC representatives confirmed their readiness to strengthen the current offer in teaching Chinese language and culture, as well as to expand the existing cooperation, by offering more possibilities to the students and the population of Ventspils both in VUC and in China.

Besides Chinese language studies, LUCI offers various kinds of cultural events for students to participate in. One of these events is called Autumn Celebration, and it will take place on September 30 at the University of Latvia. During the event, the audience will be able to watch Oriental fighting style, dance and singing displays by LUCI students and guest performers. VUC is also planning to take part and entertain the participants with performances.

After the meeting, the guests went on a tour around Ventspils. They highly praised the cleanliness and order all around the city.

LUCI is a structural unit of the University of Latvia. It was founded through the initiative of the University of Latvia and the Headquarters of the Confucius Institute (HANBAN), based on the agreement on the founding of the Confucius Institute at University of Latvia and the cooperation agreement with South China Normal University, in order to promote cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the higher education establishments in Latvia.

The purpose of the Institute is to develop collaboration in education, science and culture between the University of Latvia and South China Normal University. The Institute is the starting point of these projects and offers a single origin for them all, a common infrastructure and significant publicity. In total, there are more than 500 Confucius Institutes and more than 1000 Confucius Classrooms in 140 countries around the world.