Institute Unites Kenya and China through Wide-Ranging Scholarly Collaborations
The Confucius Institute (CI) at Egerton University was set up with the joint efforts of Egerton University in Kenya and Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU) in China. As the first Confusious Institute featuring agriculture in the world, the Institute has focused on teaching the Chinese language and culture and transferance of appropriate and advanced agricultural technologies from China to Kenya and other African nations ever since its establishment in 2012, through training and short courses. Because of its excellent work, this Institute stands out among the other 61 Confucius Institutes and 48 Confucius Classrooms in 46 African countries. For this reason, on 16 December 2020, Prof. Joshua O. Ogweno, the Kenyan Director, was invited to be one of the seven keynote speakers during the Virtual African Confucius Institute Forum to share the experience of running the Institute.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2020 the CI at Egerton University recorded the following achievements:
- On the recommendation of the CI, five Egerton University staff members and students were awarded in China Scholarship Council Council (CSC) scholarships to pursue Doctor of Philosophy studies at Nanjing Agricultural University, China. Another six Egerton students won CI scholarships for further studies in relevant universities in China for one year or four years. Ten students studying at Egerton were also awarded Chinese Ambassador Scholarships worth US$1,000.00 per student.
- In 2020, through the CI, Egerton University received two batches of precautionary material donated by NAU and the Jiangsu Pengfei Group Co. Ltd. China, which helped Egerton University to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, and which has deepened the exchange and friendship between the two institutions and two countries.
- On 18 January 2021, the CI took the lead in the four CIs in Kenya to start face-toface teaching. Meanwhile, it also organised paper-based HSK/HSKK tests on
- 20 March, which enable students to win the qualifications to apply for this year's CI scholarships for further studies in China. All the candidates from Egerton University passed the examinations.
- In February this year, the institute brought forth innovative ideas by holding two online cultural activities together with the students from NAU and Nanjing Medical University (NMU) in China. NAU students showed the CI students around the Chinese Agricultural Civilisation Museum online, while NMU students led the CI students to “visit” the Confucius Temple in Nanjing. The two online activities promoted the understanding and friendship between the students of Kenya and China.
- On 10 February 2021, the CI at Egerton University held a garden party in the compound of the Institute office to celebrate the Chinese New Year–the Spring Festival. CI students and teachers sang and danced to both Kenyan and Chinese traditional songs, while experiencing Chinese calligraphy and paper cutting, appreciating the Chinese tea ceremony, and tasting Chinese food. Following their acquisition of new knowledge on Chinese culture during the party, the students exhibited more interest in learning Chinese language.
- On 16 March 2021, the CI held video conference for a board meeting during which Prof. Chen Fadi, President of NAU; Prof. Richard Mulwa, Acting DVC, Administration, Planning, & Development, Egerton University; and other Board Members were briefed on the CI activities for the year 2020 and a 2021 work plan was approved. The Board meeting also put forward the plans for organising research activities and training in the Belt & Road Crop Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Laboratory, as well as for developmental activities of the Agro-Science Park at Egerton University. The video conference elevated the cooperation between the two institutions to a higher level.