President of the Antigua and Barbuda China Friendship Association (ACFA), Her Excellency Lady Williams recently commended the Confucius Institute of Antigua and Barbuda (CIAB) on their cultural programme which was executed to mark the Chinese Spring Festival and New Year.
As a VIP guest speaker at the celebration on February 17th, Lady Williams noted that “the purpose of the online gathering [was] to enhance cultural understanding, and to strengthen the bonds of friendship between our two nations”. She said, “It doesn’t matter what country we are from. What colour of skin we are born with. Or what language we speak. The message is clear. 2021 is a year which we should dedicate to the rebuilding of our nations, the rebirth of our aspirations, and the reconciliation of any broken relationships”.
The Chinese New Year, the most significant event on the Chinese calendar, commenced on February 12th and expands over a 15-day period. 2021 is categorized as the Year of the Ox, and is also known as a “metal” or “xin” year. The last such occurrence was 60 yeas ago, in 1961.
H.E. Lady Williams emphasized the importance of learning foreign languages as part of our cultural understanding agenda, and added that Chinese is the most spoken language in the world. “This is a new era. In order to foster world peace and maximize economic activity, it is necessary for us to be constantly upgrading our skills. Language and technology are two of the areas upon which we consistently need to improve. The Confucius Institute of Antigua and Barbuda, at the University of the West Indies Five Islands Campus, is right on our doorstep. There is no reason why our citizens cannot equip themselves with this very relevant and crucial language competency. The classes are affordable for all”.
Other special guests at the event included Hon. Daryll Matthew, Minister of Sports, Culture, National Festivals and the Arts; Ms. Rosa Greenaway, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education; Madam Sun Jin Huan, First Secretary of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China; Dr. Professor Chai Gaiying, Vice President of Zheijiang International Studies University (ZISU); Prof. Li Zhitao, Director of International Exchanges and Co-operation (ZISU); Mr. Khan Cordice, Director of Culture; Ms. Diamond Joseph, Local Director of CIAB; Ms. Gayle Greene-Phillip, Deputy Local Director (CIAB); Ms. Tao Guoxia, Chinese Director (CIAB); Mr. Li Yucheng, President of the Chinese Association of Antigua and Barbuda (CAAB), Mrs. Lestine Simon-Bradshaw, Principal of the Sir Novelle Richards Academy and Mr. Roy Christopher, Principal of the Glanvilles Secondary School.
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