On 3 March 2018, Mae Fah Luang University and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held the seminar on “Strategies Engagement of the Confucius Institutes in Thailand under Thailand 4.0. Policy” This seminar for Thai and Chinese directors of 16 Confucius Institutes in Thailand aimed to provide a channel for exchanging best practices and discussing further cooperation in order to strengthen the network between the two countries.
Among MFU’s guests of honor to the seminar were H.E. Mr. Lyu Jian, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Thailand; Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr. Damrong Kraikruan; First Secretary (Education) of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Kingdom of Thailand Prof. Dr. Song Ruoyun; and Deputy Director-General, Department of East Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ms. Arjaree Sriratanaban and Director of Chinese Studies Center at Chulalongkorn University Asst. Prof. Vorasakdi Mahatdhanobol.
Thailand has long-standing relations with China. There has been expansion of cooperation between the two countries in various aspects including politics, security, economy, science, and people-to-people relations. Nowadays, Chinese language has become more and more popular worldwide including Thailand due to the increase of Chinese tourists and China's development. The rising growth of Chinese learners represents the importance of Chinese language in facilitating the better understanding and good relations between China and other nations.
The Confucius Institutes have been established in Thailand for 12 years, currently there are 16 Confucius Institutes throughout Thailand and has performed the main role as a bridge and platform for promoting collaboration and communication as well as teaching Chinese language and culture for local people.
In the speech, MFU President, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vanchai Sirichana remarked that the Confucius Institutes in Thailand made a clear and systematic connection between China and Thailand. At the beginning of establishment, the Confucius Institutes had the roles to devote themselves to satisfying the demands of people from different countries and regions in the world who learn the Chinese language, to enhancing understanding of the Chinese language and culture by these peoples, to strengthening educational and cultural exchange and cooperation between China and other countries and to deepening friendly relationships with other nations.
Furthermore, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vanchai added that this meeting would be an opportunity to review its roles and solutions for better implementation. Personally, he thought that the more Chinese language is widespread, the more China has been accepted. So, Chinese language and culture are considered platform for strengthening collaboration. Now, the world has changed and the Confucius Institutes should reconsider its roles to link China with other nations by enhancing the understanding of China’s policy and strategy based on their mutual benefits. The understanding will indeed usher in the smooth cooperation and construct a harmonious world.
In this seminar, the meeting held parallel sessions for Chinese and Thai representatives. In each session, participants had opportunities to share their perspectives on CIs’ roles and achievements in the past few years; the obstacles and possible solutions of CIs’ operation; how to support China’s and Thailand’s development strategies; the additional role of CIs in supporting other sectors including economics, investment and trade; and the institutes’ future directions. The participants also expressed their expectations of Hanban in Thailand’s roles and the teaching enhancement through constructive discussions.
Altogether, this seminar provided a great opportunity for participants to listen to the perspectives of both Chinese and Thai directors and helped promote better mutual understanding in terms of CIs’ roles and directions. The seminar also strengthened the friendly ties among the Confucius Institutes in a strong attempt to upgrade the institutes and improve teaching quality to meet growing demand for learning Mandarin, to promoting the development of multi-culturalism, and to construct a harmonious world.