Confucius Institutes are established to promote Chinese language and culture globally. They are financially supported by Hanban, the Chinese National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, an office affiliated to the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. The establishment of Confucius Institutes is always the result of a cooperation agreement between a Chinese university and a university located in the host country, often in collaboration with other cultural organizations. Their function is similar to that of other world famous institutes, such as the German Goethe Institut or the French Centre Culturel Français.
The Turin Confucius Institute was established in 2008 by the University of Turin in cooperation with the East China Normal University of Shanghai. It organizes Chinese classes for everybody at all levels: in its headquarters, children usually take afternoon classes, while students and adults attend evening classes. Courses are aimed at providing students with Chinese proficiency international certificates: HSK (Chinese Proficiency), HSKK (HSK Speaking Test) YCT (Youth Chinese) e BCT (Business Chinese) tests can all be taken at the Turin Confucius Institute.
The Turin Confucius Institute promotes many cultural events, which aim at spreading Chinese culture among the general public: lectures open to the local community are held on different topics about China, such as literature, currents affairs, history, politics, and philosophy; art exhibitions, classical and contemporary music concerts, plays, and rendezvous with Chinese writers are often promoted by the Institute.
In cooperation with the Regional Education Office of Piedmont, the Turin Confucius Institute is carrying on an important project aimed at promoting the teaching of Chinese language and culture in a variety of local schools, from 3rd grade to senior high school and college levels. To date, 22 local schools and 1400 students are included in the collaboration network of the Institute. Its 20 Italian teachers are specifically trained in teaching Chinese as a foreign language, whereas native teachers obtain a degree in teaching Chinese as a second language at the East China Normal University in Shanghai.