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Last Updated: Monday, 12 March 2007, 12:17 GMT
College for Chinese culture opens
Lampeter University (picture: Lampeter University)
Chinese has been taught at Lampeter University for many years
A new college which aims to promote the Chinese culture and language, as well as strengthening business links with Wales, is to open in Ceredigion.

The Confucius Institute, named after the famous Chinese philosopher, will be based at Lampeter University.

It will be one of 100 similar institutes around the world, and according to Lampeter University, the first of its kind in Wales.

The college will be partly funded by the Chinese government.

University officials signed an agreement with the Chinese Government in Beijing on Monday, but it is unclear when the institute will officially open.

It is understood Lampeter is being recognised for the pioneering role it has played in teaching Chinese studies over the years.

'Cultural dimension'

The university claims to be the only one in Wales where students can read degrees in the Chinese language and culture.

Professor Robert Pearce, the university's vice chancellor, said: "Lampeter's engagement with China is important socially and economically.

"The Chinese students at Lampeter enrich the experience of all our students, and they bring a valuable cultural dimension as well as overseas income to the town.

"In addition, the future prosperity of Wales will be better secured if we have strong links with China, given the pace of economic and educational development in China."

Professor Xinzhong Yao, director of the Lampeter Confucius Institute, said: "The Centre for Chinese studies at Lampeter has a record extending over a full decade in providing higher education in Chinese studies and has already established a strong reputation in the UK."

University officials said the Ministry of Education in China aimed to establish 100 Confucius Institutes throughout the world by 2010.

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