With the coming of spring, everything looks new and fresh. On the occasion of Chinese New Year celebrations across Scotland, two Specialist Confucius Classroom Hubs, the firsts of its kind in the world, were officially launched at the Scottish Opera and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) respectively, presenting a New Year's gift to the growing friendly relationship between China and Scotland.
On 16 February, the first day of Chinese New Year, Jordanhill Primary School in Glasgow was in a festival atmosphere with classrooms decorated with Chinese knots, lanterns, painting and calligraphy, marking the official launch of Scottish Opera's Confucius Classroom Hub. Mr. Pan Xinchun, Chinese Consul General in Edinburgh, Mr. Alex Reedijk, General Director of Scottish Opera, Ms. Fhiona Mackay, Director of Scotland's National Centre for Languages and Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools (CISS) attended the event.
Consul General Pan extended warm festival greetings to the attendees and briefed them on the fruitful results of the friendly cooperation between China and Scotland, especially the great achievements in Chinese language and culture teaching and learning in Scotland. He congratulated Scottish Opera on the launch of the Confucius Classroom Hub and believed it will make more contributions to cultural exchanges between China and the UK. Mr. Reedijk said Scottish Opera will use its new status of the Confucius Classroom Hub to create opportunities for Scottish children and young people to learn Chinese language and culture through opera. Ms Mackay indicated that CISS became a Model Confucius Institute last year and had made lots of firsts in its development since its establishment six years ago, saying it's exciting to see CISS launch the first specialist Confucius Classroom Hub in the world on the first day of Chinese New Year and will do more to promote Chinese language and culture.
The school pupils performed a new opera entitled The Dragon of the Western Sea about the voyages of 15th century Chinese commander Admiral Zheng He, winning warm applause from the audiences.
On 20 February, the science Specialist Confucius Classroom was launched at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo in a blaze of colour with the display of the Giant Lanterns of China. Consul General Pan Xinchun, Ms. Fhiona Mackay, Mr. Xia Jianhui, Counsellor of Education Section of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, Mr. Jeremy Peat, Chair of the Board of RZSS, Ms. Barbara Smith, Chief Executive of RZSS as well as hundreds of pupils attended the ceremony.
Consul General Pan said he is delighted to visit the Zoo many times and witness the continuous development of RZSS' cooperation with China. He expressed thanks to RZSS for its positive contribution to collaboration between China and the UK. Ms Smith said it is an honour to become the first science Specialist Confucius Classroom in the world. RZSS has played an important role in giant pandas' conservation and research. Many schools in Scotland have benefited from its China-related activities centered on giant pandas. Ms Mackay thanked the Chinese Embassy and the Consulate General for their efforts in promoting educational cooperation between China and Scotland, saying Chinese language and culture education at the zoo is of great significance as it serves as a new bridge of friendship between the two peoples.
The event has been covered by the STV.