Delegates representing Carleton University, the city of Ottawa and Beijing tourism gathered to celebrate the unveiling of the Carleton Confucius Institute’s Beijing Tourism and Culture Digital Centre in September 2016.
“The Centre will benefit the entire university, both students and faculty,” said Justin Li, director of the Confucius Institute at Carleton. “Not only will it provide more digital resources for those who wish to learn Chinese language and culture, but the increased partnership with Beijing tourism groups will be a platform to engage more students interested in traveling and studying abroad.
“The strengthened partnership between Ottawa and Beijing through this new centre will encourage students to engage deeper in the social and economic development of Beijing,” said Li. “At the same time, our students will be able to showcase Ottawa and Carleton to their counterparts overseas.”
Guests at the unveiling event included Mayor Jim Watson, Carleton President Roseann O’Reilly Runte, the Vice-Chairwoman of Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism and Development, Wang Yue, Associate Vice-President (Research and International) Pauline Rankin and other tourism stakeholders in Beijing and Ottawa.
The importance of tourism as an effective way of strengthening ties between the cities was a common theme throughout speeches delivered by Ottawa and Beijing dignitaries.
Welcoming remarks were provided by Dr. Runte and Watson. The mayor noted that since signing the sister-city agreement between Ottawa and Beijing, the tourism relationship between the two had blossomed. He also provided his thanks to Dr. Runte and Carleton for strengthening the Ottawa-Beijing relationship.
Beijing Tourism Opportunities
Yue spoke to the fact that the Chinese capital has a large contingent of students looking for international studying opportunities, with over half electing to study in Canada or the United States.“Personally, I think Canada is the better choice,” said Yue.
Rankin remarked that the upcoming 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism would help encourage more Carleton students to explore China. She noted the opening of the tourism centre would not only benefit Carleton students, but the entire community. Rankin also expressed her thanks to the Confucius institute for helping students prepare for a global economy.
The student perspective was shared by Becky Gray, who provided a presentation of her recent excursion to Beijing. Gray had been a part of a 16-person, two-week tour of the city.
The morning program closed with the unveiling of the Beijing Tourism Cultural Digital Centre plaque by Rankin and Yue. To provide an immersive experience, guests were invited to try out virtual reality headsets depicting Beijing and the Great Wall of China.
Following the unveiling there was an exchange of gifts, with Rankin providing a commemorative coin set and Yue gifting an intricate plate. Additionally, Yue presented a tea set that was a part of the 2014 Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation state dinner.
Li expects the centre will provide a platform not just for tourism but also socio-economic exchanges between the two cities. “It’s going to be an excellent vehicle for increased engagement on a variety of areas between our two cities.”