Paul Inman

Oxford Mail:

Pro vice chancellor and dean of the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment, Oxford Brookes University

In October 2015, Oxford Brookes hosted representatives from China to officially launch a Confucius Institute at the University – a new initiative which will open its doors early in 2016.

Negotiations began back in late 2012 when I travelled to Beijing to start talks with the Chinese authorities and a potential educational partner.

Hanban, the Chinese National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, finally gave official approval for the Confucius Institute at Oxford Brookes in the summer of 2015.

The establishment of the Institute is being carried out in partnership with the Foreign Languages Teaching and Research Press (FLTRP) at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

At the launch event in November 2015, staff from the university were joined by representatives from China and members of Brookes Union’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association.

The launch was timed to coincide with the visit to the UK of the Chinese President, Xi Jinping.

There are almost 500 Confucius Institutes operating around the world within universities, and their aim is to promote Chinese culture and language, support local Chinese teaching internationally and facilitate cultural exchanges.

When the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, visited the UK in November 2015, he attended the UK Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms Annual Conference in London, and delivered a speech in which he stressed that Confucius Institutes serve as important platforms to help the world understand China.

The Confucius Institute at Oxford Brookes is one of only 29 in the UK and it will concentrate on publishing – an area of excellent international reputation both at the university and across Oxfordshire.

This will be the first Confucius Institute in Europe with such a focus.

Angus Phillips, head of the School of Art at Oxford Brookes, will serve as the director of the Confucius Institute and the deputy director, who will lead on daily operations, is currently being recruited.

The establishment of the Confucius Institute is an exciting opportunity for Oxford Brookes to strengthen its existing links with China and allow us to promote an understanding of one of the world’s oldest, continuous civilisations and the biggest, most diverse and fast-changing countries.

One obvious benefit of the initiative will be that the university’s profile will be raised in China and it will be regarded as a serious player in the Chinese market for the recruitment of students and for research and knowledge exchange activity.

Oxford Brookes is home to the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies (OICPS), one of the leading centres for publishing education in the world. OICPS already has strong links in China, including a research co-operation with Peking University.

More than 50 students from China have studied publishing at Oxford Brookes in the last 10 years and many of our alumni hold prominent positions in the Chinese publishing industry.

The partner in the Confucius Institute is the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press (FLTRP), the largest ELT publisher and university press in China, ranking third in sales turnover among all the publishing houses in China.

FLTRP publishes in more than 30 languages, with the majority of its publications in English and an increasing number of works in Chinese.

The Confucius Institute will be based on the Headington Campus within Headington Hill Hall.

It will provide Chinese language teaching training and services for people in the Oxford area, test and develop resources for online language learning, design and publish books on Chinese themes, and organise staff and student cultural exchange programmes and exhibitions of Chinese literature, culture and art.

In addition training programmes will be carried out for professionals from publishing houses in China, and a visiting scholar programme will facilitate research into the links between the publishing industries in the two countries.