Over 40 universities in China teach Arabic

Updated 22 February 2014

Over 40 universities in China teach Arabic

As many as 50,000 Chinese and foreign students, study Arabic and Islamic culture at various universities and educational institutions in Beijing, asserts Zhang Hong, professor at Beijing Foreign Studies (BFU).
Zhang was speaking to Arab News on Friday at a reception hosted by the Chinese Ambassador to Riyadh Li Chengwen in honor of Arabist Chinese academics who are visiting the capital to attend the ongoing Janadriyah festival.
Arabic language is taught at more than 40 universities in China, the professor added.
Among these universities are the University of International Business and Economics and Beijing Foreign Studies (BFU). The latter produces most of the Chinese diplomats and ambassadors posted in the country's missions in Arab countries.
Prominent Saudi academics and media men including Abdullah Al-Washmi, secretary-general of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for the Arabic Language, attended the event.
“BFU, which was established under the Chinese Foreign Affair program was the cradle of Chinese diplomacy,” he said, adding that in the eighties it came under the Chinese Ministry of Education.
He said BFU specializes in producing Chinese professionals well versed in foreign languages and experts in the science of languages.
“At our university, 60 major international languages are being taught, including Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish. These languages are recognized as business languages at the United Nations and other international organizations,” he said.
BFU has produced 400 Chinese ambassadors and 700 consultants who work in Chinese embassies around the world in political, economic and other domains. “The current Chinese ambassador to Riyadh is one of BFU’s graduates,” Zhang added.
He said that 200 Chinese students have completed the Arabic language course at BFU, of which more than 30 have been appointed ambassadors to Arab countries. Currently there are more than 10 Arabist Chinese ambassadors posted in Arab countries, including the Chinese Ambassadors to the United Arab Emirates, Sultanate of Oman, Sudan, Iraq and even Turkey.
“The Chinese government and the people of China have displayed a keen interest in learning the Arabic language because it represents a strong bridge that connects the two worlds,” the professor said, adding: “Saudi Arabia has an equal interest to teach Arabic, and disseminate Arabic and Islamic civilization to China.”
He said cultural ties between the two countries are growing, especially with the presence of more than 3,000 Saudi students in China.
Meanwhile, Li, the Chinese ambassador, stressed that the participation of Arabist Chinese in the national heritage festival reflects the Chinese government’s keen interest in boosting relations between the two countries.
“We have chosen to strengthen existing bonds between our two countries through cultural exchanges,” the ambassador said.


Fahad Al-Azzam, assistant deputy minister for empowerment at the Saudi Ministry of Health

Updated 14 August 2020

Fahad Al-Azzam, assistant deputy minister for empowerment at the Saudi Ministry of Health

Fahad Al-Azzam has been the assistant deputy minister for empowerment at the Ministry of Health since September 2019.
He has also been the general manager for enterprise at the ministry’s project management office since July 2016, where he developed and implemented a standard set of project management processes and models, and built the framework and updated it to account for developments and best practices.
It was announced on Monday that Al-Azzam’s role as assistant deputy minister for empowerment has been extended for another year.
Al-Azzam obtained a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, in 2007. He studied abroad in the US, obtaining a master’s degree in engineering and technology management from the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 2014.
Prior to his current position, Al-Azzam worked as a cooperative trainee at the Saudi Electricity Co. between May and October 2006.
At the Advanced Electronics Co., he worked as an assistant field service engineer between July 2007 and May 2009, and technical support and field service engineer between May 2009 and December 2010.
At the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, he worked as senior electrical engineer at their radiation safety department between January 2011 and February 2015.
He developed a safety program for exporting and importing electronics devices to and from Saudi Arabia and worked at controlling the risk resulting from the use of radiation-emitting devices. He also worked there as a project manager at their project management office between February 2015 and July 2016.