Monday, May 20, 2024

UN in Ethiopia marks Chinese Language Day


The United Nations family in Ethiopia on Wednesday marked Chinese Language Day with an aim to promote the Chinese language and culture.
The Chinese language commemoration event was co-hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in collaboration with the Chinese Mission to the African Union (AU) at the UN Conference Center in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.
Acting Executive Secretary of UNECA Antonio Pedro said on the occasion that the celebration offers an opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of the Chinese language to the achievement of the objectives of the United Nations and the fulfillment of its mandate.
He said the Chinese culture, of which the Chinese language is a reflection, pertains to a vast and complex set of achievements in a wide range of fields. “That continuity, which has facilitated the dissemination of practices, objects and ideas, means that certain elements of Chinese culture can transcend regional and historical differences.”
“Today, many people around the world who are not of Chinese origin want to learn Chinese,” the UNECA chief said.
Pedro said the UNECA, in collaboration with the Chinese Mission to the AU and the Confucius Institute at Addis Ababa University, has recently started offering Chinese language courses. “That initiative reflects the ever-closer cooperation taking place between the UNECA and its multilingualism partners.”
Participants attending the UN Chinese Language Day celebration emphasized that the event could be seen as an important platform for creating awareness of the Chinese language in particular and Chinese culture in general to the rest of the world under the umbrella of promoting linguistic and cultural diversity.
The event was marked with different activities showcasing the Chinese culture and language, including Chinese calligraphy, art performances, as well as presentations on Chinese culture, tourism and history, and traditional Chinese medicine and healthcare.
Various performances were also displayed by students from the Confucius Institute at Addis Ababa University and the Confucius Institute at the Federal Technical and Vocational Training Institute.
Head of Mission of China to the African Union Hu Changchun said that the Chinese language in recent years enjoyed growing demand among people in the African continent and the rest of the world.
“As one of the languages with the longest history, the most elegant structure, and the deepest ideological connotation in the world, the Chinese language is attracting more and more people to explore and feel the essence of the profound Chinese culture behind it,” he said.
Figures from the Chinese Mission to the AU show that as China actively engaged in cooperation with other countries, Confucius Institutes and Classrooms have been set up in 159 countries, among which more than 70 Confucius Institutes and Classrooms have been established in African countries.
In Africa, 17 countries have included the Chinese language in their education system, and over 600,000 African people are using or learning Chinese, according to the Chinese Mission to the AU.
“The learning and use of Chinese serve as a bridge of mutual learning between civilizations, allowing more and more friends all around the world to feel the beauty of poetry in Tang and Song Dynasty, the profound philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine, the rapid development of China, and find the key to the success of Chinese path to modernization,” Hu said.
The Chinese language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. The other five are Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
The United Nations family in Ethiopia annually commemorates Chinese Language Day in line with the decision by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2010 to mark Chinese Language Day on April 20. The decision envisaged celebrating multilingualism, cultural diversity, and promoting equal use of all six of the UN’s official working languages throughout the organization’s structure and activities.

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