By Samuel Ben Turay
Director of the Confucius Institute last Friday donated two sets of multimedia equipment worth US$20,000 to Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone.
During a colourful ceremony at the Strasser-King Building on FBC campus, the head of the Confucius Institute handed over various items as part of celebrations to mark the Chinese Lunar new year festival on the theme: ‘To inform and involve for better understanding among people around the world’. The donated items include Epson projector, automatic screens, voltage stabilizers, Lenovo computers, stereo amplifiers, loudspeakers, microphones, wireless microphones and control desks and cables.
According to the Director of the Confucius Institute, Professor Liu Hande, the donation was meant to provide logistical support to the university.
The Chinese New Year is celebrated on 31st January, and it is regarded as the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, which literally translates to its modern Chinese name and is declared a public holiday in China.
“Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year’s Day itself, the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the ‘Lunar New Year’,” said Prof. Liu.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prof. Gbamanja described the partnership between the college and the Confucius Institute “as timely and very significant”, adding: “What we have benefited from this short time from the Chinese government has made us proud.”
The university don recalled that Fourah Bay College signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese government in 2011 for the establishment of the Institute at the college, to teach Sierra Leoneans the Chinese language. He said the partnership has enabled visiting Chinese students learning the local language, while Sierra Leonean students have benefited immensely from the Chinese people.
Local director of the institute, Mr. Kenneth Osho, thanked his Chinese counterpart for the items and commended China for the establishment of the institute. He said the institution has enrolled more than five hundred (500) students, barely six months after it opened its doors to students desirous of learning Mandarin.