Ni hao. That’s the welcoming message Lancaster University is sending to its Chinese students.
The institution is starting a new year with a ‘new-look’ centre providing a platform for Chinese culture, research and activities.
Renovations to the iconic Round House building, which houses the Confucius Institute, in Lancaster Square was as part of an extensive remodelling project, funded by Hanban, the Confucius Institute in Beijing.
The renovation and extension includes the creation of open-plan study space for students which also offers a spacious meeting and function room, and a Chinese resource centre while, for the first time, newly acquired space on the first floor provides a ‘hub’ for visiting academics, plus seminar rooms and office space.
It was officially opened by the university’s new Pro-Vice Chancellor for Engagement, Professor Dame Sue Black, who thanked Hanban for the confidence it had shown by investing in the facility.
She praised the community engagement activities organised by the Confucius Institute including the Chinese New Year celebrations in Carlisle, its involvement with the Light-up Lancaster festival and the many school and outreach teaching activities.
Prof Dame Black said: “We encourage creative partnerships between our students, staff and local communities to enhance life on campus and in the city.”
Among the audience were officials from Hanban headquarters in Beijing; Mr Xuefeng Chen from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Manchester; the Mayor of Lancaster, Coun Andrew Kay; representatives of the schools where 600 children study Chinese each week and Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle.