On 25 September 2021, the first ASEAN-China Language and Culture Forum with the theme of “Language and Culture Facing Social Development and International Understanding” was held in Guiyang, Guizhou Province during the 2021 China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week (CAECW). The forum was co-hosted by the ASEAN-China Centre (ACC) and China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE). Mr. Tian Xuejun, Vice Minister of MoE of China and Director of State Language Commission, and Mr. Danu Dantti, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and Innovation of Thailand, delivered video speeches at the opening ceremony. Mr. Liu Limin, President of CEAIE, Mr. Chen Dehai, Secretary-General of ACC, Ms. Natthira Krasaesarn, Education Minister Counsellor of the Thai Embassy to China, and Ms. Wang Hui, Deputy Director of the Guizhou Provincial Education Committee, attended and addressed the opening ceremony. Mr. Phoxay Thevilayvong, Education Counsellor of the Embassy of Lao PDR, delivered a keynote speech. Mr. Wang Yongli, Secretary-General of CEAIE, chaired the forum.
Mr. Liu Limin pointed out that strengthening international exchanges and cooperation of language and culture are the glue that unites people’s hearts, and helps to form a joint force to seek development and happiness. He hopes that ASEAN and the Chinese language and cultural workers will uphold the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind, stimulate new vitality of language and cultural cooperation, and promote the ability of language and culture to serve the “Belt and Road” Initiative, enhance the driving force of scientific and technological innovation for the development of language and culture.
Mr. Chen Dehai stated that Chinese universities have offered courses in all languages of ASEAN countries, while the demand for Chinese learning overseas is also expanding. Seven ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, have incorporated Chinese into their national education systems. The number of international students exchanged between the two sides has exceeded 200,000. All lays a solid foundation for promoting people-to-people exchanges between ASEAN countries and China and benefiting the social development of both sides. It is hoped that this forum will serve as a platform for experts and scholars from universities and educational research institutions of both sides to learn from each other and deepen collaboration, so as to promote exchanges and cooperation in the field of language, culture and education to make new progress.
During the forum, participants actively exchanged views and had in-depth discussions. It was agreed that we should stick to the direction of enhancing mutual interaction and exchanges among various civilizations and further promote language and cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and ASEAN countries so as to play a unique role in further promoting the high-quality development of the joint construction of the "Belt and Road" Initiative.