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.
Office of Chinese Language Council International 国家汉语国际推广领导小组办公室 Guojia hanyu guoji tuiguang lingdao xiaozu bangongshi
Hanban is a public institution affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education. Established in 1987 and initially denominated National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (NOCFL), it is committed to providing Chinese language and cultural teaching resources and services worldwide. The Hanban ‘Confucius Institute’ project is aimed at promoting the Chinese language and culture around the world, where 400 Confucius Institutes have already been established. Since 2004, Director General of Hanban and Chief Executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters is M.me Xu Lin.
East China Normal University (ECNU) 华东师范大学 Huadong shifan daxue
Founded in Shanghai in 1951, the East China Normal University is one of the most prestigious universities in China. Since China opened up to the world in 1978, ECNU has rapidly developed into a comprehensive research university. At present, the University has 21 schools and colleges, with 58 departments offering 70 undergraduate programs in humanities, education, science, engineering, economics, management, philosophy, psychology, law, history and art. Besides that, the University also includes 5 advanced research institutes, among which the Department of Chinese as a Foreign Language is particularly worthy of mention.
Founded in 1404, the University of Turin is one of the most ancient universities in Italy. Many of the leading figures in 20th century Italian political and social life, such as Antonio Gramsci, Piero Gobetti, and Palmiro Togliatti graduated from Torino University, as well as three winners of the Nobel Prize for Medicine, Salvatore Luria, Rita Levi Montalcini, and Renato Dulbecco, together with two Presidents of the Italian Republic, Luigi Einaudi and Giuseppe Saragat. To date, the University of Turin is one of the largest Italian Universities, hosting 70.000 students, and 4.000 academic, administrative and technical staff members. With its 27 Departments, the University of Turin virtually covers every field of knowledge; its research centers are among the best ones in Italy and abroad.
The study of Chinese language was introduced in the mid 1980s; since 2005 the University of Turin offers a Bachelor degree program in Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa and a Master’s degree program in Languages and Civilizations of Asia and Africa, where Chinese is one of the most studied languages.