Speech By Professor Domwini D. Kuupole




ON JUNE 2, 2016

All protocol observed:

The famous Kenyan writer, Ngugi Wa’Thiongo, once made the observation, Our lives [as Africans] are a battlefield on which is fought a continuous war between the forces that are pledged to confirm our humanity and those determined to dismantle it…those who seek to mould it and those committed to breaking it up; those who aim to open our eyes, to make us see the light and look to tomorrow and those who wish to lull us into closing our eyes. Ngugi is making a wise distinction between cultural imperialism and the fruitful friction with other cultures that creates and deepens civilised encounters with others. We wish to acknowledge here and now that Confucius Institute at University of Cape Coast is intended in the long term to play a positive role, eye-opening and empowering in the life of our University and Ghana.

But what is the Confucius Institute? The Confucius Institute programme was founded in 2004 by the Chinese Ministry of Education with the central purpose to promote Chinese language and culture worldwide, to promote what is referred to as Chinese soft power. Unlike comparable western institutes, like the British Council or the German Goethe Institute, the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) determined that the location of all Confucius Institutes should be within an academic environment. The original plan was to open a thousand Confucius Institutes worldwide by the year 2020. As at 2015, there were four hundred and ninety-five Confucius Institutes operating in a hundred and thirty countries the world over, which means that the Confucius Institute Headquarters is well on its way to achieving its primary objective. Every Confucius Institute is a joint venture between a Chinese university and a host university – in our case, our Chinese partner university is Hunan City University, one of the most famous institutes of higher learning in China. The Confucius Institute Headquarters becomes the third and supervising partner in this arrangement. In Africa today, there are sixty Confucius Institutes and classrooms. In Ghana, even though University of Cape Coast wrote the first accepted Confucius Institute proposal in 2008, today we join University of Ghana as the second Ghanaian Confucius Institute.

In our eyes, the Confucius Institute at University of Cape Coast is here to serve certain very specific purposes. First among them is that it is going to enlarge and enrich the arena of intellectual debate. This idea is in reference to the underlying notion of the humanities: which is that we understand our humanity better when we study others. The Confucius Institute at the University of Cape Coast becomes beneficial to us as Ghanaians and Africans if it becomes an agent of engagement with our own culture, even as we engage with the Chinese. Let me explain: we read Shakespeare knowing very well that Macbeth is not an African and yet the sheer overwhelming humanity of the man, his overweening ambition, touch us because he is human like ourselves. By studying Macbeth, therefore, we come to understand the limits of ambition in ourselves. This is the gift of all good literature. It helps us open our eyes to the richness of the world around us. By approaching the Confucius Institute at the University of Cape Coast in this way, we begin to understand the compelling principle that Ngugi so wisely discerns in his statement.

And finally, by so doing, the Confucius Institute at the University of Cape Coast becomes one of those forces that are pledged to confirm our humanity and open our eyes. The introduction of Chinese language and culture into our curriculum can serve as a new measure of our research methodologies which will in the end sharpen our probing of our own cultures. The lesson I am trying to point out here is that the Confucius Institute at the University of Cape Coast is a positive addition to our stock, an enriching overture in the congenial dialogue among cultures. My presentation will not be complete without acknowledging the contributions of certain key people that have made it possible to open this institute at University of Cape Coast. Of course, our first acknowledgement is the presence and hand of God. This project began under the administration of Professor Emmanuel Addow-Obeng and his Registrar, Mr. Samuel Kofi Ohene. When the original proposal was presented to these administrators, they gave their fullest possible support and immediately arranged a dialogue with Chinese Ambassador that culminated in as many as three trips to China in search of a partner. These trips were facilitated by Mr. Kofi Enchill who was introduced to us as the official Ghanaian representative of a consortium of Chinese universities in Ghana. Acknowledgement must also be made of the current Minister of Education, our former Vice Chancellor, who, even now, is working to enhance scholarship opportunities for our students into Chinese universities. Mention must also be made of Mr. Jeff Onyame, the Deputy Registrar – Academic, who participated intimately in the negotiations that led to the acceptance of the proposal by the Chinese Ambassador in Ghana. The original idea for the Confucius Institute at University of Cape Coast and its implementation was mooted by the then Director of the Centre for International Education, Professor Kwadwo Opoku-Agyemang. Finally, the full implementation of the Confucius Institute at University of Cape Coast project has fallen to the current administration and I must say that they have acquitted themselves with distinction. As for our partners at Hunan City University, it is a happy privilege to work with them for such a noble objective. We wish also to thank the Confucius Institute Headquarters, Hanban, for their patience, insight and all they have done to make this achievement possible. In conclusion, Confucius Institute at the University of Cape Coast is China’s gift to us, an invitation to strengthen relations with Africa’s biggest trading partner. It offers us the opportunity to enter another way of seeing, a new way to build cultural capital in consonance with our traditions and aspirations. Thank you and God bless. Prepared by K. Opoku-Agyemang

各位来宾, 著名的肯尼亚作家恩古吉。瓦。提安哥曾经说过做过这样的观察评论:我们的生活就如同一个战场,这里两种力量在不断地搏斗着,一种力量发誓确保我们的人类本性,另一种力量却决定要消除它;有一些人试图塑造它,有些人致力于打破它;有些人旨在让我们开阔我们的眼界,让我们看到光明,展望明天,而有的人却诱惑我们闭上双眼。恩古吉能睿智地区分究竟是文化侵略还是与其他文化卓有成效的碰撞,因而能创造或者深化人类文明。这里我们认识到海岸角大学孔子学院正致力于从长远对我校及加纳起到积极作用,让我们眼界开阔并更有力量。 到底什么是孔子学院?孔子学院项目是中国教育部于2004年启动的,主要目的是为了在世界范围内推广汉语以及被称之为中国软实力的中国文化。不同于类似的西方机构,如英国文化协会 ,德国的歌德学院,孔子学院总部(汉办)决定把所有孔子学院的地址选在学术环境中。原计划到2020年在全球创办1000所孔子学院。到2015年已经在全球130多个国家创办了495所孔子学院。这意味着汉办正顺利地开展工作,能够实现当初的目标。每所孔子学院都是由一所中国大学和国外一所承办大学合作。我们合作伙伴湖南城市学院是中国最著名的高等学府之一,在这个合作中汉办是作为第三方并作为监管方。现在非洲共有60所孔子学院和孔子学堂,在加纳,虽然我校在2008年就签订了同意开办的协议,但我们是继加纳大学之后的第二所孔子学院。 在我们看来,海岸角大学孔子学院将有起到如下作用:第一,能为我们提供一个舞台,扩大和丰富我们的智慧。孔子学院的主题思想隐含人文精神精髓,也就是如果能向其他人学习,我们能更好地理解人文精神本质。孔子学院将友谊与加纳和非洲,它能成为推动我们文化的者桥梁,正如我们推广中国文化一样。可以这样来解释:我们从莎士比亚的作品中,了解到麦克白这样一个人,他不是非洲人,但他却是人性的彻底颠覆者,他过于自负的野心触动了我们,因为他也是像我们一样的人类。因此通过研究麦克白,我们可以了解到我们所怀的抱负的局限性,这就是好的文学作品赠予我们的礼物,它能使我们张开双眼看到周围世界的丰富多彩。在海岸角大学孔子学院的创办过程中,我们逐渐理解恩古吉在他的陈述中睿智区分的那条引人注目的原则。通过这样做,海岸角孔子学院最终将成为这样一种既确保我们的人文精神又能开阔我们眼界的力量。另一方面,将汉语及中国文化引入我们的课程也能作为考量我们研究方法的一种新的手段,这种新的手段最终将促使我们更深入地探究我们自己的文化。

最后,我要感谢那些为成功创办这所孔子学院做出贡献的主要人员。当然,我们首先要感谢上帝的赐福。这个项目最初是由Professor Emmanuel Addow-Obeng 和他的教务长,Mr. Samuel Kofi Ohene负责管理. 当最初的方案向他们提出来的时候,他们给予了全力的支持,并马上安排了与中国大使的会谈,并安排了多达三次的中国之行,以寻求合作伙伴。这些中国之行都是由Kofi Enchill 先生促成的,他当时是中国大学在加纳的合作机构的加方代表,还要感谢现任教育部长,同时她也是我们原来的校长,她现在仍然在为我们的学生争取获得中国大学奖学金而努力;我还要表示感谢的就是Jeff Onyamei 先生,他当时的职位是代理教务长,他热情地拜会中国驻加纳大使馆大使,参与商谈,促成大使接受了在海岸角大学建设孔子学院的可行性分析报告。最初的在海岸角大学建设孔子学院的设想是由当时的任海岸角大学国际教育中心主任Kwadwo Opoku-Agyemang教授提出并付诸实施的,直至最后,促成孔子学院正式挂牌建立的工作落到了现在的管理者身上,我得承认,他们的工作卓有成效,孔子学院最终获批并挂牌成立。能有湖南城市学院作为我们的合作伙伴,能与他们一起工作,来共同实现这样一个崇高的目标,我们深感荣幸。我同样要感谢孔子学院总部,是他们的耐心、远见以及他们所付出的一切,才是我们有可能获得成功。 综上所述,海岸角大学孔子学院是中国政府赠送给我们的礼物,改礼物将进一步深化我们与中国,即非洲最大的贸易伙伴之间合作关系,她给我们提供了多种机会,让我们找到了以新的视野看问题的方式,让我们找到了建立文化资本的新方式,该方式让我们的传统文化与未来理想相融合。 衷心感谢各位。