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Brief introduction to Confucius Institute at University of Dubai

Located on campus of University of Dubai, Maktoum Road, Dubai, UAE, Confucius Institute at University of Dubai is the first Chinese culture and education institute built in the GCC countries. At the beginning of 2011, CIUD was formally established under the strong support and macro direction of Hanban, Ningxia Government and UAE Government. In the past three years since its establishment, CIUD has been developing in a healthy and continuous way based on the cooperation between Ningxia University and University of Dubai.

Chinese language teaching is the key task of CIUD.  At the beginning of establishment of CIUD, NU and UD jointly formulated long-term plan for CIUD development. In several years’ sustainable construction, CIUD has developed a unique institute running mechanism in terms of textbook compilation, localization of teacher training, Chinese language promotion and cultural education communication by taking full advantage of Ningxia region, taking hold in Chinese language necessity of Arab countries students, basing on the teaching and learning reality of CIUD and focusing on Chinese language promotion and cultural communication. Over the past three years, CIUD has enrolled more than 400 students, of which three got the scholarship to study in one of university in China. Meanwhile, CIUD successfully hosted, arranged and completed various major projects and tasks. For example, CIUD Unveiling Ceremony and China Culture Festival have been highly appreciated by the UAE and China Government and related management authorities; The Chinese language training program as the first official program has entered Dubai government system; Chinese language course has been taken into local primary school educational system; the first time Chinese culture as a credit course has been included in UD curriculum system; CIUD has enhanced the influence in Arab countries by participating in cultural activities held by Embassy of China in the U.A.E and Consul General of People’s Republic of China, organizing some lectures, attending Sharjah Education Exhibition in the Middle East and carrying out the “Arabic Training Program Implemented Overseas”.

Over the past three years, the achievement of CIUD proved that Chinese language promotion has a brilliant future in Dubai. CIUD hosted the “Chinese Culture Day” at Dubai Carmel School in the morning of Jan. 31st 2013, which attracted 15 faculties and 50 students inside school to participate in the Chinese cultural elements experience activity. The faculty and students were attracted by Chinese Knots, Paper-cutting, chopsticks and fans and they also stopped to appreciate Qipao (traditional Chinese dress) in display. They showed great interest in Chinese culture. President Aliya Abu Eunice of Carmel School stated, “I am very glad to participate in Chinese Culture Day activity. It is good to host this kind of activity because it helps to promote Chinese language and culture and helps people to know better of China and Chinese culture.”

CIUD continuously makes innovations in Chinese language teaching methods and cultural developing strategies. At the beginning of its establishment, CIUD offered Chinese language courses to government officials in Dubai Customs and Dubai Police ranging from level 1 to level 5 based on the actual need and level of the students. Each class includes 45 teaching hours. The same year, it trained two batched amount to 75 students for Dubai Police Academy.

In the year 2012 and 2013, CIUD has successfully increased the training courses for Dubai Police Academy from two sessions to four sessions. It also made further cooperation agreements with Sharjah Police and Dubai Customs. It opened other two teaching spots outside UD, Dubai Police Academy and Dubai Al Shorouq Private School, offered about 20 Chinese language classes, registered accumulated over 120 students and granted over 100 students Chinese language training certificate.

In addition to expanding teaching spots, classes and offering Chinese language courses, CIUD exploits to the full its own advantages to activate Chinese language teaching atmosphere by hosting Chinese Culture Day, to stimulate students’ enthusiasm in learning Chinese by offering credit course and to expand Chinese language teaching space by organizing HSK tests so as to improve the level of Chinese international promotion.

CIUD innovates Chinese teaching and enhances cultural communication in order to serve and meet Chinese learning demands of local people and overseas Chinese offspring. In support of NU and UD, CIUD actively participated in various important activities held by Embassy of China in the U.A.E and Consul General of People’s Republic of China and successfully hosted Chinese Culture Week activities; in support of Hanban, CIUD organized Traditional Chinese Medicine lecture for overseas Chinese and UD teachers and students; gave lectures on Chinese culture to Dubai Huawei branch, UAE University and some high schools in the UAE; participated in Sharjah Education Exhibition in the Middle East; set up Chinese Book corner, donated books from Chinese Hanban, built and updated Chinese and English version of Confucius Institute website. By organizing and participating in all kinds of social activities, CIUD vigorously enhances Chinese cultural communication in Dubai and the UAE.

The Confucius Institute Development Plan (2012-2020) describes the broad development prospects of CIUD. CIUD will give full play to the advantage of related areas of NU and UD; continuously develop its own potential; sincerely serve China’s reform and opening-up strategy; serve China’s opening-up to the West strategy; serve the construction of Ningxia Pilot Zone of In-land Opening-up Economy and Yinchuan Comprehensive Bonded Zone; serve the social and economic development, communication and cultural exchanges of both parties. Under the guidance of Hanban and in support of the governments and related departments from both parties, CIUD, a multifunctional platform, will give a full play to the role of a cultural bridge.

With the development of China’s opening-up to the West strategy and Dubai government’s pivot east aims, CIUD plays a more and more important role in Chinese language teaching and cultural development. It will promote international education development by hosting more activities such as Chinese language competitions in Arab countries and research seminars; continuously satisfy the needs of Chinese learning in Arab countries by increasing investment of CIUD construction, strengthening development of teaching materials and methods, and training local teacher; promote Chinese culture by setting up Confucius Classrooms in primary and middle school. Because it has a long way to go in Dubai, CIUD hopes to get more attention and support so as to make bigger contribution to building a more harmonious China Arab relationship and deepening China Arab friendship.