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.


2020 G20 Leaders’ Summit to be held virtually on Nov. 21 – 22 

Updated 28 September 2020

2020 G20 Leaders’ Summit to be held virtually on Nov. 21 – 22 

  • G20 presidency to build on the success of the extraordinary virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit held in March

RIYADH: The 2020 G20 Leaders’ Summit will be held virtually on November 21 – 22 and will be chaired by the Saudi Arabia's King Salman, the G20 presidency said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) Monday.

"The G20 presidency will build on the success of the extraordinary virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit held in March, and on the outcomes of over 100 virtual working groups and ministerial meetings," the statement said.

"The G20 is leading the fight against this global pandemic, taking swift and unprecedented actions to protect lives, livelihoods and the most vulnerable," it said. 

The G20 has contributed over $21 billion to support the production, distribution, and access to diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.

It has also injected $11 trillion to safeguard the global economy.

It has further launched a debt suspension initiative for the least developed countries that would allow beneficiary countries to defer $14 billion in debt payments due this year and use these amounts instead for financing their health systems and social programs.

"The upcoming G20 Leaders’ Summit will focus on protecting lives and restoring growth, by addressing vulnerabilities uncovered during the pandemic and by laying down the foundations for a better future," said the statement. 

"The Summit will also focus on fostering international action to realize opportunities of the 21st century for all, by empowering people and protecting our planet, whilst harnessing the potential of innovation to shape new frontiers."