A Beijing delegation is expected to arrive at the Durban University of Technology next week where an agreement will be signed with the University towards the establishment of the DUT Confucius Institute (CI) which will see the University becoming the first institution in KwaZulu-Natal to offer Mandarin courses to staff, students as well as the local business community.
The soon-to-be established DUT CI will also see the eThekwini Municipality’s International Relations Office using the services of DUT trained Chinese language professionals for language translation and interpretation services during business meetings or cultural events hosted by the City. The agreement will be signed on Wednesday (March 27, 2013) at the DUT Hotel School Conference Centre, Ritson Campus. A plaque will also be unveiled to mark the official launch of the Institute which will serve as a vital academic, intellectual and cultural bridge between South Africa and China. The CI will promote strong links between the two countries as well as amongst the culturally diverse communities living in Durban and KZN.
“It will also provide the opportunity to draw the local Chinese population into conversations and cultural connections with local communities as well as (provide) for the flow of students and professors between our two nations. DUT’s longer term strategic goal is to promote the internationalisation of higher education among its many local and international university partners”, said Dr Lavern Samuels, Director of the International Education and Partnerships Office at DUT.
The journey towards establishing the DUT CI officially started in February 2013 when the Office of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal at DUT, Professor Ahmed Bawa, approved the decision to establish a Confucius Institute at the University. The Fujian Agriculture and Forest University’s (FAFU) Humanities and Social Sciences College (H&SS) was chosen, by the CI headquarters, to partner with DUT in the establishment of the Institute.
FAFU’s qualified and experienced Chinese language research and teaching faculty members will provide the necessary administration and management assistance to DUT’s CI Board of Advisers to serve under the direction of Professor Kenneth Netshiombo, DUT Faculty of Arts and Design Executive Dean and Dr Samuels. The DUT CI Board of Advisers will serve as the oversight authority to ensure efficient communications with its partner (FAFU H&SS) when running of the Institute’s various language, cultural and research programs.
It is envisaged that the DUT CI will be located on the Miriam Bee building on the DUT ML Sultan Campus, home to the Language and Translation Department which falls within the Faculty of Arts and Design. This location was chosen because the Language and Translation Department already offers two programmes, Language Practice and Translation and Interpreting Practice which are of important relevance to this initiative. Furthermore, this location is strategically positioned because the programmes of Language and Translation will share mutual interests and facilities with the Confucius Institute in terms of teaching and learning, research and community engagement. These fit and support the advancement of the multilingual and multicultural education priorities of the Durban University of Technology.
– Sinegugu Ndlovu
Pictured from left: The DUT-FAFU delegation: Fu Chaobo, Devanathan Govindasamy, Mme Zhang Huaying, Professor Graham Stewart, Dr Kenneth Netshiombo, Professor Ahmed Bawa, Professor Lan Siren, Chris de Beer, Dr Lolie Makhubu, Li Yuxiong and Mme Zhou Rong.