The 13th Confucius Institute Conference was held in Chengdu from 4-5 December 2018.

The opening ceremony was presided over by Chen Baosheng, minister of the Ministry of Education (MOE). Sun Chunlan, vice premier of the State Council, attended the conference and delivered a keynote speech. With the theme of “Facilitating New Development through Reform and Innovation, Forging a Brighter Future with Concerted Efforts”, the conference attracted more than 1,500 delegates from 154 countries and regions.

Liu Xianghong, deputy secretary of the Party Committee of the Open University of China (OUC), led a team of four people to attend the conference as representatives from the Chinese cooperative institution of the Confucius Institute at Michigan State University (MSU).

At the opening ceremony, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan pointed out that the Chinese government has always encouraged cross-cultural exchange and has actively supported foreign cooperation in running Confucius Institutes. In order to build a community of human destiny and promote the common prosperity and development of all countries, we need to give full play to the unique role of languages in promoting understanding, building consensus, enhancing cooperation, and deepening friendship. It is necessary for Confucius Institutes to implement the "Chinese Plus" project, set up special courses for skills, business, and traditional Chinese medicine, and establish a practical and cooperative support platform. They should insist on an open policy in terms of school running, give full play to the advantages of both sides in running schools, train more talented people who are familiar with the target cooperation countries, build a platform for friendly exchange between countries, and contribute to deepening friendship and building a community between China and foreign countries.

During the meeting, there were two special forums, eight presidents’ forums, and 20 workshops. Delegates communicated and exchanged views around the topics of “The Innovation of Confucius Institute Schooling Patterns and Management Mechanisms,” "Chinese Plus and the Specialised Development of Confucius Institutes,” “The Digitalisation of Confucius Institutes,” "Cultivating Plural Partnership Systems for Confucius Institutes,” and "Shaping and Showcasing the Public Image of Confucius Institutes.”

The closing ceremony was presided over by Ma Jianfei, vice director of the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban). Tian Xuejun, Deputy Minister of the MOE and managing director of the board of directors of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, gave a concluding speech. He stressed that the MOE has always adhered to opening education to the outside world, helped Chinese universities to carry out exchanges with universities around the world, and provided substantive support for the construction of a community with a shared future for all mankind.

The OUC, as a Chinese cooperative institution of the Confucius Institute of MSU, has been committed to the research and practice of the "Internet +" Confucius Institute for many years, and has been working with MSU to explore effective teaching models for online education. After the conference, representatives from the OUC and the Confucius Institute of MSU visited the OUC Chengdu Branch. The two sides reviewed the key work of the Confucius Institutes in 2018, exchanged views and communicated with each other on the work in 2019, and discussed the opportunities and possibilities for strengthening cooperation between the OUC Huaqiao College and the Confucius Institute. In 2019, the two sides will reelect new directors, which will open a new historical chapter for the construction and cooperation of Confucius Institutes.

By Cui Jiaxing,OUC