Dr. Muhammad Irfan, the Director Pakistan Institute of China Studies (PICS), participated in a virtual forum organized by Confucius Institute, University of Karachi (CIUK) on December 28, 2023.
The forum centered around the theme “2023 CPEC and People-to-People Exchange” invited the distinguished heads of Confucius Institutes, scholars and business enterprisers from both China and Pakistan.
The event commenced with a warm welcome from Prof. Dr. Muhammad Nasiruddin Khan, the Pakistani Director of CIUK.,Prof. Zhang Xiaoping, the Chinese Director of CIUK chaired the forum whereas Prof. Zhou Changming, the Chinese Director of Confucius Institute at University of Agriculture Faisalabad (CIUAF)served as the co-chair.
Prof. Chen Yunxian, the Chinese Director of Confucius Institute at University of Sargodha (CI-UoS)provided an insightful overview of CI-UoS and delved into the practices of Chinese language education and culture, highlighting the collaborative efforts and contributions from the both sides. She addressed the problems and challenges faced by the CI-UoS and also expressed her vision for the future prospects of CI-UoS. “As we are not in Pakistan, so we need to increase the contacts, not only the contacts of the Chinese teachers but also the contacts between the Confucius Institutes in Pakistan” said Prof. Chen. “We shall join hands with other Confucius Institutes in Pakistan to promote cultural exchanges” she emphasized.
Prof. Dr. Nooreen Mujahid, the Director of the Applied Economics Research Center (AERC) at the University of Karachi, underscored the pivotal role of Gwadar in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). She emphasized that CPEC functions as a corridor with multiple doors, with one of them leading to the Blue Economy. Dr. Noreen urged the government of Pakistan to dedicate its full efforts to ensure the success of the CPEC project. In particular, she called for measures to enhance national security and address challenges related to proxy wars, identifying these as critical factors for the successful implementation of CPEC.
Dr. Tahir Mumtaz Awan, the Director of China Study Centre, COMSATS University Islamabad, stressed the importance of countering the negative connotation associated with CPEC by the western media.He asserted that it is the responsibility of Confucius Institutes in Pakistan to convey that CPEC is not a competitive venture but a collaborative and mutually beneficial project aligned with President Xi Jinping's vision of a community of shared future. Dr. Awan also underscored the increasing global significance of learning Chinese, stating, “English is not a most widely spoken language now. Everybody is learning Chinese because this is the future of technology and future of the world”.
While talking about the role of Confucius Institutes, Mr. Zafar, the Former Special Envoy for CPEC, Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Pakistan Embassy, Beijing, emphasized that the CI has played a major role in Pakistan-China relationship. He noted that these institutes are instrumental in disseminating knowledge about Chinese language and culture while fostering positive relations between the two nations. “The efforts of CIs will bring the people of two countries more close to each other, paving the ways for broader cooperation” he said.
Mr. Yin Xiaohu, Deputy CEO of Bank of China, Karachi Branch, Mr. Li Jigen, CEO Huaxin Resources Co., Ltd., LuoJianxue, Chairman of the Lahore Overseas Chinese Association, and Principal of Lahore Chinese International School were also among the distinguished speakers of the forum.
Overall, the forum provided a platform for meaningful dialogue and collaboration, underscoring the pivotal role of Confucius Institutes in enhancing understanding and cooperation between Pakistan and China. The insights shared by the speakers highlighted the multifaceted contributions of these institutions in fostering cultural exchange, dispelling misconceptions, and strengthening the bonds between the people of both nations.