WE all know that language is what makes us truly human. By learning a language you can effectively communicate with other people. On the other hand, by learning a foreign language, you are enabled to understand cultures, ideas and thoughts that are different from that of yours; and thus learn about other people in the world. There is over one billion Mandarin Chinese speakers found all over the globe today which makes the language on top of the list of most important languages to learn today. With China emerging as a global power to deal with, it has become more important in business to have Filipinos know Chinese. We have accepted the fact that the Philippine Government relies on the export of human labour abroad (OFW) which remittances account for a significant percentage of the country’s gross domestic product.
“We live in a highly connected global society. Language has the power to bring people of different cultures together . The world has entered a global economy, and that means that now, more than ever, language is needed to work with people—across many different cultures—towards a common goal,” so lectures the Hon. Consul of Bangladesh, Purita Arsenia “Joji” Ilagan-Bian, who is also the Founder of the Joji Ilagan Bian International Schools, a conglomerate of schools under the JIB Group of Companies based in Davao City. Joji Ilagan Bian is a well-respected business leader and educator in Mindanao; and is well admired by women for her distinctive style in fashion.
The Joji Ilagan International Schools signed last February 10, 2022, an Educational Cooperation Agreement with the Confucius Institute (in cooperation with Ateneo de Davao University) and the Huaqiao University (Quanzhou, China). Huaqiao means citizens of China living abroad. The collaboration of the two schools was enabled through the able support of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Davao headed by the Honorable Consul General Li Lin and Madam Qui Aiping.
The Joji Ilagan International Schools is an exclusive network of international schools which owns the Joji Ilagan International Management School; the Institute of International Culinary and Hospitality Entrepreneurship; and the Stockbridge American International Schools. Joji Ilagan Bian said that Mandarin is being offered as a required foreign language in all the JIB International Schools. “This is an integral part of our educational core of instilling cultural diversity and global citizenship among all of our students. Learning Mandarin will connect all of our students not only to Asia and China but to other parts of the world as well. Our Hospitality and Tourism and Culinary graduates will have more access to global careers with this language facility. Mandarin is fast becoming the language of business and tourism . So even our pre-schoolers and grade level students in Stockbridge have Mandarin classes just like our college students,” the educator Joji Ilagan Bian informs.
The Confucius Institute (CI) was founded in 2004 in Beijing, China, to promote and teach Chinese culture and language around the world. Confucius Institutes are public educational and cultural promotion programs funded, organized and owned by the Chinese International Education Foundation. This organization is affiliated with the Chinese government.
Huaqiao University (HQU) is a comprehensive university, directly under the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council of China; and jointly run by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, the Ministry of Education (MOE) of the People’s Republic of China and the Fujian Provincial People’s Government.
“Language also helps us in one very important aspect in our lives: our careers. The world has entered a global economy, and that means that now, more than ever, language is needed to work with people—across many different cultures—towards a common goal,” emphasizes the educator Joji Ilagan Bian.
Those who participated in the signing of the Education Cooperation Agreement included Professor Cheng Ailian; the Honorable Consul General Li Lin of the Consulate of the People’s Republic of China (Davao) and his wife, Madam Qiu Aiping; Vice President Zeng Lu of Huaqiao University of China; Consul Joji Ilagan Bian as President of JIB International Schools; Nicole Hao Bian Ledesma as Vice President of the JIB International Schools. Also participating in the meeting were Tu Wei ( Director of the International Chinese Education Office of Huaqiao University China), Lei Yun (Director of the Confucius Institute Program Office of Huaqiao University), Zhang Shenglin (Chinese Director of Confucius Institute at Ateneo de Davao University), and Cheng Ailian (Chinese Teacher of Confucius Institute at Ateneo de Davao University).
The Vice President of Huaqiao University Zeng Lu expressed his optimism in the educational cooperation that it will bring more opportunities for future students and faculty exchange programs. He extended his invitation to Madam JIB to visit their school in Xiamen, China. Deputy Consul General Liu Qian was excited to be part of the agreement since China is a key player in the global economy presently. The PRC Consulate General office in Davao expressed its happiness in being able to facilitate this educational cooperation happen.
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