Confucius Academy: Strengthening Cultural Confidence and Spreading Excellent Traditional Chinese Culture to the World

2021-02-19

On November 29, 2018, a series of documentary films, namely Charming Argentina and Charming China jointly produced by the China Media Group and the Argentine National Radio and Television Station were broadcast simultaneously on the national television stations of the two countries. As one of the shooting points selected by the Argentine film crew in China, Guiyang Confucius Academy debuted in the documentary Charming China to showcase the contemporary heritage and education of traditional Chinese culture.

Chinese classics chanting lesson on the weekend in Confucius Academy attracted this foreign filming team. Ariel Piruso, the director of “Charming China” from the Argentine National Radio and Television Station, told China Central Television reporters how China found its way to integrate into the world while maintaining Chinese tradition and culture. They have seen that the children in a whole class love ancient Chinese poetry and traditional customs. The witty students can talk to them in English after class. Ariel Piruso thought that the new generation of China will promote the development of the whole world and will also enhance traditional Chinese culture, which is worth our display to the Argentines.

 

“Please come in”: Cultural heritage is not just one voice

There will be groups of students and citizens with notebooks walking into the Mingde Hall of Confucius Academy every weekend to listen to traditional cultural publicity lectures. Lectures are given by many famous people and contain rich contents, which is the reason why it attracts so many loyal listeners. There have been more than 660 public welfare lectures in the past 6 years. This is not only because Confucius Academy can grasp the appetite of audience, but also because they have the deep understanding of Confucius’s cultural heritage—in the context of globalization, cultural inheritance is not just a single statement, but also about how to tell the story of Chinese culture in multicultural communication.

Therefore, on the platform of Confucius Academy, there are not only famous cultural scholars in China such as Lou Yulie, Xu Jialu, Wang Meng, Chen Lai and Guo Qiyong, but also famous overseas Confucian experts such as Du Weiming, Cheng Zhongying and An Lezhe. In addition to the teachings of the Hundred Schools of Thought, the comparison of Chinese and Western cultures, the “Belt and Road” history and culture, the cultural soft power and other aspects of international view and the display of multiculturalism have also been opened for a long time in the form of special series lectures, which are deeply loved by the public.

Cultural training events have also implemented Confucius Academy values. This year, Confucius Academy held the “Axis Age and China” international academic seminar and a series of cultural exchange activities. More than 70 experts and scholars worldwide were involved in a dialogue and discussion between China and multicultural civilization in the new era. The International Academic Conference of the “Knowledge-Action Forum”, which was held in Confucius Academy for three consecutive years, gathered Yangming scholars at home and abroad to discuss the contemporary development of Yangming culture. In addition to holding large-scale international academic conferences, Confucius Academy also signed cooperation agreements with overseas universities such as Korea University and Korea Sungkyunkwan University, and invited foreign scholars from the United States, Japan, and Korea to enter the Chinese Culture International Training Center in Confucius Academy to conduct cultural discussions and academic exchanges. Confucius Academy and the Guizhou Provincial Office of Philosophy and Social Science have jointly funded the establishment of the “Guizhou Provincial Philosophy and Social Science Planning Sinology Single Topic” since 2016 and publicly filed for foreign and domestic scholars. Up to now, 89 projects have been established, including foreign scholars who declared the subject of the project, so as promote academic exchanges between China and foreign countries.

“Going Global”: Understanding contemporary China from traditional culture

As an important platform for Guizhou’s foreign cultural exchanges, Confucius Academy has also become a “standard” for many foreign affairs activities in Guizhou. In 2015, the Guiyang International Forum on Ecological Civilization opened a sub-forum in Confucius Academy. In 2016, the launching ceremony of Chinese and Korean cultural exchanges event “Chungnam Day” was held in Confucius Academy. In 2017, Canada’s Governor David Johnston’s visit to China arranged Confucius Academy as the only one stop in Guizhou.

In addition to foreign affairs activities, Confucius Academy also paid attention to foreign students from colleges and universities. Confucius Academy has conducted six traditional cultural experience activities for foreign students since 2016. Foreign students from more than 30 regions and countries, including the United States, Russia, Britain, Germany, France and Japan, have experienced Chinese tea culture, wine culture, calligraphy art, food culture, etc. through the platform of Confucius Academy, actively for cultural exchanges and interactions between China and foreign countries.

Confucius Academy created the first academic quarterly magazine which promotes excellent traditional Chinese culture and thoughts with Chinese and English translations—Confucius Academy—in the world. It actively introduces the frontier research results of traditional culture to abroad. It is worth mentioning that Confucius Academy magazine invited 24 authoritative experts from different disciplines to write a thesis on the theme of “cultural self-confidence” in December 2017, and edited and published the only special issue on the topic of “cultural self-confidence” in the form of Chinese and English bilingualism, which stands at the height of academic theory and focuses on “cultural self-confidence” to let the world understand China.

“Culture is not a shield, but a bridge. Through constant communication, collision and confrontation, new elements will be created from the old values, making the vitality of culture stronger.” Professor Xu Qi said that Confucius Academy is based on traditional culture to let the world know about contemporary China.

“Going in”: Exploring the international expression of traditional culture

How to let the traditional culture shift from the physical space of “going global” to the people’s heart, let the foreign people truly recognize the wisdom of China and jointly promote the construction of the community of human destiny? This is a topic of great significance and needs to be explored continuously.

Confucius Academy held the “Confucius International Comic Contest” and “Wang Yangming International Comic Contest” in 2015 and 2017 respectively to collect comic works with the topic of Confucius and Wang Yangming from global artists. The events introduced representative figures of Chinese culture to various parts of the world and encouraged global artists to actively participate in the contemporary expression of Chinese culture in the form of comic contests, which not only enriched and vivified the image of Chinese traditional culture in the hearts of the people of the world, but also let Chinese people view their civilization from a more diverse perspective.

In 2018, the English website of Confucius Academy was officially launched. According to reports, the Internet users from over 20 countries and regions such as the United States, Britain, France, Italy and Germany have visited the website since May 2014 when the Chinese simplified and traditional Chinese version of the Confucius Academy website was launched. The user proportion, on account of 54.8%, exceeded the total domestic access. In addition, Confucius Academy website has jointly cooperated with China Confucius Network and Phoenix Network to broadcast the live memorial ceremony for Confucius worldwide, with the number of overseas viewers reaching more than 100,000. The English website of Confucius Academy is a new foreign cultural window created in response to the needs of overseas audiences. It effectively improves the reading efficiency of overseas users and enhances sense of experience of overseas users and recognition of traditional Chinese culture.

Not long ago, Guiyang Confucius Academy and the International Confucian Association exchanged views, and the two sides reached a consensus on deepening cooperation and jointly promoting the Chinese culture to “go global”. It is understood that the two sides will plan to cooperate in the publication of a series of translations of traditional Chinese cultural classics in 2019 by selecting some readable and representative classics and translating them in a multilingual form, especially in small languages to spread Chinese traditional culture to all corners of the world.

“Guiyang Confucius Academy is a cultural platform with connotation and openness, high-levelness and accessible, as a foothold between Guizhou and the world.” said Suo Xiaoxia, Director of the Cultural Communication Center of Guiyang Confucius Academy. Confucius Academy has all along been guided by the principle of “creative transformation and innovative development” over the past six years. It is committed to setting up a cultural desk for ordinary people and a cultural and academic exchange platform for global scholars, contributing to world development by offering Chinese wisdom and spreading Chinese values.