UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland held the 14th Board Meeting
At 9:15 a.m. on March 18, 2021, the 14th board meeting of the UCD Confucius Institute (UCD CII) was held by zoom video conference. The meeting was presided over by the Chairman of the Board and President of UCD, Professor Andrew Deeks. The board members participated are Professor Dolores O'Riordan, Vice President for Global Engagement of UCD; Professor Paul Fanning, International Dean (China) and Provost of Beijing-Dublin International College; Professor Joseph McMahon - Professor from UCD Law School; Professor Du Peng, Vice President of Renmin University; Li Zhenshi - Deputy Director of the International Affairs Office of Renmin University, Huang Yishun - Deputy Director of the HR Office and Director of the Confucius Institute Office of Renmin University; Professor Liming Wang - Director of UCD Confucius Institute and the Irish Institute for Chinese Studies. Observing participants of the meeting included Zhang Wei, Chinese Director of UCD Confucius Institute; Bian Xiaoyue and Xu Chang from the Office of the Confucius Institute at the Office of International Affairs Office, Wang Yanling and Feng Xi from UCD Confucius Institute.
Professor Liming Wang reported to the board on the work of UCD CII in the past year and responded to the questions raised by the Board. He said that 2020 was a very challenging year for the Institute, but nevertheless overcame the extreme shortage of teachers and ensured the smooth operation of the Institute. He mentioned that due to the impact of the pandemic and the changes in the visa policy of the Irish Immigration Bureau, the assigned volunteer teachers from China have not yet arrived. The three Confucius Institutes in Ireland are still trying to resolve the issue with the Ministry of Justice. Achievements have been made in terms of academic research, especially in the development of the third volume of Chinese teaching packs for secondary schools and research project with Peking University.
Professor Wang explained the work plan and budget of UCD CII in 2021 to the Board. He also addressed related concerns of the board members. A few projects approved by the board of the previous year could not take place as expected and the surplus will be carried forward to 2021.
Professor Dolores O’Riordan suggested that there should be contingency plans such as webinar made for the academic conferences if normality could not be resumed. In addition, the progress of the establishment of a “One Belt and One Road” Joint Research Centre has been delayed due to the impact of the pandemic, but should see progress next month. Vice President Du Peng expressed his input on the subject mentioning that Renmin University has established two "One Belt and One Road” research centres globally, and may provided financial support for the joint venture.
The Institute conducted student surveys among secondary schools, evening courses, and the Confucius Class for Children last year and the overall feedback has been very positive. However, by moving most teaching activities online, CII has witnessed some problems and will endeavour to improve its teaching methods. Professor Deeks urged the Confucius Institute to learn from the good practices of other university departments which are experienced in online teaching.
Professor Wang briefed the Board on the plan of Suzhou Garden. The design has been submitted to UCD Capital Projects Group for review.
To conclude the meeting, Professor Deeks and Vice President Du Peng expressed their appreciation to the UCD CII team for their hard work and dedication under such difficulties circumstances. They spoke highly of the cooperation between the two universities and expressed their hopes for a greater partnership in the future.