A NEW Confucius Institute was today officially opened at Aberdeen University by First Minister Alex Salmond to help promote educational, economic, and cultural links between China and the North east of Scotland .
The First Minister was joined at the ceremony by senior representatives of the UK Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese Consulate in Scotland, and Wuhan University in China.
The aim of the Institute, based at the university campus in Old Aberdeen, is to further interest and cultural exchange between the university, communities, schools, individuals and businesses in the North east and the People’s Republic of China.
Other Confucius Institutes have already been established at the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde.
Mr Salmond said: “The Scottish Government is committed to strengthening the bonds between Scotland and China, through academic and cultural collaboration, alongside continuing governmental and business exchange.
“I’m delighted to open this newly-established Confucius Institute, which is the latest partnership to be forged between Scotland and China for the mutual benefit of our citizens.”
He added: “Our China strategy has a clear and specific objective to expand and deepen education links between our two nations. I warmly welcome the commitment of the University of Aberdeen and Wuhan University to ensuring that, collectively, we achieve that shared goal.”
Aberdeen University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Ian Diamond said: “Our strong links with China are a cornerstone of our internationalisation strategy. This builds on many years of fruitful cooperation with the University of Wuhan and indeed with our wider academic and cultural colleagues in China, with whom we enjoy growing research partnerships which are aimed at tackling challenges of today’s global society, including energy, health and the environment.”
Street Soccer Scotland
Earlier, during his visit to Aberdeen, Mr Salmond announced £300,000 of new Scottish Government funding to expand the Street Soccer Scotland scheme ahead of Glasgow hosting the 2014 games.
The new funding will be directed at young men and women leaving care or those not in education, training or employment or facing challenges such as homelessness, mental health problems or addictions.
As well as the chance to play football, Street Soccer Scotland programmes offer advice and access to various supprt services.
The First Minister said: “Street Soccer Scotland shows how sport can bring people together, offer new opportunities and achieve positive change. I’m delighted that thousands more young Scots, many of them facing great challenges, will benefit from Street Soccer programmes as a result of our commitment to securing a positive legacy from the Games.
“Next year provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity for individuals and communities across Scotland. We have planned early, we’re getting programmes in place already and people are benefitting right now.”
Street Soccer Scotland will deliver a series of programmes over two years in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee with 37,500 places for young men and women.