On October 25th 2016, the Confucius Institute of Enna was inaugurated at the University of Enna “Kore” (Sicily, Italy); this opening contributed to systematize the teaching of Chinese in the most southern region of Italy.
Speakers of the event were Bruno Marziano, Education Councilor for Sicily, Maurizio Dipietro, mayor of the city of Enna, Cataldo Salerno, President of the University of Enna “Kore”, Giovanni Puglisi, Dean of the University of Enna “Kore”, Luo Ping, Education Councilor for the Chinese Embassy in Italy, and Liu Hong, Dean of the University of Foreign Languages of Dalian.
More than two hundred people, both Chinese and Italian, took part to the inauguration; among them there were local authorities, professors, students and citizens.
The Confucius Institute of Enna is the twelfth Institute in Italy and the ninth inaugurated in cooperation with the University of Foreign Languages of Dalian; at the moment, it is the only Confucius Intitute in Sicily.
In his speech, the President of the University of Enna “Kore”, Cataldo Salerno, mentioned that Prospero Intorcetta, a missionary born in this part of Sicily, translated into Latin the classics of the Confucian canon already in the 17th century. From that moment, the rich Chinese and Sicilian cultures brought forth a lasting network of exchanges. The establishment of a Confucius Institute in Sicily will then offer to Italian students new opportunities to get in touch with the Chinese language and to better understand the rich and thousand-year old Chinese culture.
The mayor of Enna, Maurizio Dipietro, focused on the fact that several Italian artists showed a great interest towards Chinese traditional art; however, they could not fully understand the content intrinsic to that art, because of their lacking of basic linguistic competences. The Confucius Institute of Enna, then, can act as a bridge between the Chinese and the Italian cultures, so that, together with the encounter with the Chinese language and culture, the Italian one would emerge as well.
The Education Councilor for the Chinese Embassy in Italy, Luo Ping, affirmed that the request by Italian people to study the Chinese language and culture is constantly growing; the inauguration of the Confucius Institute of Enna will then satisfy this request, by providing a concrete possibility to implement the trade between China and Italy; it will also contribute to reinforce the friendship and the reciprocal trust between the two government.
The Dean of the University of Foreign Languages of Dalian, Liu Hong, declared that the Confucius Institute of Enna will be an effective tool in enhancing the reciprocal comprehension between the Chinese and the Italian people and in promoting a cooperation platform between the two Universities. Moreover, she hopes that the Confucius Institute will contribute to deepen the understanding of China and the knowledge of the peculiarities of Chinese culture, in order to instill new strength to the friendship relationships between China and Italy.
At the end of the ceremony, the guests were entertained by a concert of Chinese traditional music; afterwards, some students of the Sinological Studies Department at the University of Enna “Kore” recited two poems: Nostalgia for the Homeland and Spring snow on the frozen garden.
On the same day, the University of Enna “Kore” and the University of Foreign Languages of Dalian called the first board meeting, during which the responsibilities that the members of the Confucius Institute, on both sides, commit to undertake were discussed, and several agreements were drafted.
The news of the inauguration ceremony of the Confucius Institute was given by the TV station CCTV, CRI (China Radio International), Xinhua News Agency and the Regional newscast of Sicily.